But What Can AI and VR Do For Me? 

A couple of years ago, we published an article entitled Is The Future ArtificialThis piece contended that artificiality could enhance, or change, our lives in all kinds of amazing ways that many of us would appreciate, and many of us probably would not. 

“In the future,” we wrote, “enhanced, synchronized VR shoes (a riff on currently available technology) will let you hike through virtual mountains, just as though you were there. And you might travel on artificial vacations, with a VR lover whom you’ve never met in real life. A haptic feedback suit would let you feel the wind and sun on your skin.”

You see? Someday, VR might give you anything you want. 

And what if you do not know what you want? 

“In the future,” we wrote, “AI may create artificial worlds for us to live in.”

In other words, AI could be a step ahead. 

Certainly, VR could help us attend meetings that we otherwise could not attend; AI will discover cures for cancer and heart disease, and even more obscure diseases that no doctor would bother trying to cure today, and it will keep your calendar for you. 

But these technologies can improve our lives in all kinds of other, trippier ways. 

As you may have noticed, the initial excitement of VR has waned with the decline of the pandemic, and today the most popular virtual world, Fortnite, is 2D, accessed through a flat screen. AI is proving less exciting than originally imagined, as the biggest AI companies restrain their creations with leashes and filters. 

So we thought as a bit of thought experiment we would think about where we would like AI and VR to go in the future, the places that we would like it to take us. So many stories, fairy tales, fantasy novels, talk about a magical creature or a fantastic machine that can fulfill all of our wishes, just like that. AI and VR, together, are that magical creature. Now, we are on the verge a great dive into the greatest era in human history, and so many of us want to cast it aside. 

So this is what we will be considering, in a semi-irregular column. 


Image by Kalyee Srithnam; model, Kalyee Srithnam. 

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