• Manny Zaldivar

Virtual Reality and Human Curiosity

Updated: May 26, 2020

I've always had a tough time describing how I see the world to other people. It's like trying to explain this gnarly dream to someone. You start out fine, but the more detailed you try to be the more distorted it becomes. Imagine if you can pop on some goggles and jump in to someone else's world. Well, you actually can.

I have yet to experience Virtual Reality but I can see the possibilities it brings. Travel, exploration, immersive entertainment. Maybe I can show someone what it's like inside my world.

You ever hear that phrase "Art imitates life/life imitates art"?

It seems to me like everything that is happening in the tech world today has been taken from old renditions of what was once considered "the future". And it all stems from the Human imagination. Every single piece of innovation and technology you see came from an idea. A thought. A "what if?". Which makes me think... what if I can create a world for someone to experience in the most immersive way possible?

How? Well, that I don't know yet. But I do know it involves VR. Think of an RPG video game where your actions affect the story-line. It has beautiful valleys, much like the Great Divide in western Eruhl. Dragons dominating the skies and giants protecting their land. Now imagine that in VR. Pretty cool right? However, you know it's a game. What if there is a way to make it indistinguishable from your normal visual reality?

That is a great feat to undertake; however, it may be more plausible than you realize. I recently saw a game-play video for the next generation of video games consoles. These mindbreaking games are powered by Unreal Engine. For those who don't know, it's basically a program that can hold and process information to make video games function they way they do. Word on the street is that Unreal Engine has improved so much that thy can now design worlds with photo-realistic scans of places and textures. I've seen it with my own eyes, you can't distinguish it from reality. Especially not with the way that lights and shadows and even the environment all interact with each other in this program.

Now imagine yourself in this detail rich world. The only thing missing is a narrative. A plot. One where you learn the about the world around you as you get further into the plot and interact with your environment. In Japanese pop culture this story trope is essentially a genre of Anime called "Isekai", or "from another world".

The biggest problem with actually making that happen is that in order to have a fully functioning world that can react to the unpredictable Human behavior you need a lot of programmed responses. That's a lot of coding. UNLESS.... there is a way to get the code to write itself. Machine learning.

Which brings me to Artificial Intelligence. Combine artistic world-building, Unreal Engine design capabilities, brilliant storytelling from talented writers, and a sprinkle of Artificial Intelligence for this monstrosity of an immersive experience to learn and react to your actions and you've got yourself the world's most profitable franchise. Every time you replay the story your experience will be different.

I believe that is the direction Human curiosity is going to take us. And I know that because I am going to find a way to either make it happen or be involved with the team that makes it happen. Filmmaking, Video Games, and Virtual Reality seem to be on a crash course. Some question the ridiculous advancement of technology. How far is too far?

I think that too far is not far enough. What good is intelligence if you put limits on it? Humans are natural creators. While we aren't advanced enough for interstellar travel, we are capable of creating virtual worlds. Physical planets aren't the only worlds out there. The mind alone can create a plethora of worlds.

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