Physical space has social meanings.
We use space to structure how we start conversations,
to show our engagement with our partner, to show our openness to engage with others. Think of the formations you form at parties, and how you know as outsider if you can join a conversation or not.
You also have the important of gaze. Eye gaze is not only an outward expression of an emotion, it is used as a communicative device – as a tool to interact with others. People turn towards to each other to make eye contact and initiate a conversation.
Both space and gaze have so far been missing in online social media. This is the positive value for better communication you add to social media with VR. It's very exciting to see this development already going so fast.
It saddens me though that it seems Facebook is the company making the first steps into this future. This cynic in me says Facebook only develops this to have more ways to manipulate people in seeing ads and other forms of commercial persuasive communication. Tupperware parties 2.0.
It will be interesting to see physical body cues (or body language) become "photoshopped", as it were.
At the most basic level, one could simply record oneself saying something really genuine and honest, and then replay the resulting body language when lying to someone in VR.
Many more subtle body cues could also be either recorded/replayed or simulated.
In the physical world people often seek to look in to each other's eyes to determine whether the other person is lying or has something to hide. In VR, of course, what the eyes express will be entirely under the conscious control of their operator.
It will be interesting to see how human interaction in VR changes as a result of these expanded possibilities, which will not be limited by the muscles of the human face, or even the limits of human shape, or physics.
Many new ways of expression are likely to occur in VR in the future. One could argue that this is really not that new, as such things are possible in, say, Second Life, or many MMORPGs today, or even that things like the use of emoticons in text chats are an early instance of this. But I expect VR has the potential to take this to the next level, and seeing where that leads in one or two hundred years would be pretty interesting.
Don't forget that last part.
Like gaming together or sharing whatever on IRC or Reddit or some such.
If you're trying to randomly talk to a new person with not a common-ground of topic interest it's easy to see how visual cues and body language feel like they are truly lacking.
Also the problem with VR is on any other platform I'm not consuming my entire field of view and immersing myself... so I can't keep a periferal view of my child to make sure she doesn't help her self to yet another yogurt in the fridge among the the many other thousand of small perceptions we need to make about our environment around us....
Indeed, I think it's very what is lacking (online empathy) and I am glad that VR is intended to address some of the challenges we currently have with online communication.
Surprisingly there's no real pressure to introduce any solution
I'd bet on cartoonish, stylized avatars being the most successful (at least initially). Cartoons work for a reason, we're very good at taking a cue and filling in the blanks. But the more information an image carries the deeper you go into the uncanny valley. For realistic VR avatars to catch on, they'd need to be nearly perfect.
Besides that, you can do many of the things demoed even now on AltspaceVR. I tested it out for a few nights, and turns out hanging around in an interactive VR space with random strangers is ruined by trolls and people constantly quitting and joining. We never got successfully through an entire game of "Cards Against Humanity".
Another interesting one was vTime, which focuses more on chatting. You can move your head around and sit around virtual spaces with others, but you cannot move. That felt much like grabbing coffee in real life with someone and we got into deeper conversations this way. I would rate it as perhaps the most interesting experience I had before selling my Oculus to wait another year or two to see things improve.
Youtube and twitch are capable of doing the conference call equivalent, streaming live video of content that doesn't actually exist, such as a video game, to a video receiving device. The ability to dynamically create live video is more than a few years old, even in live chat systems, from the capability to alter the background behind you while you video chat, to being able to wear virtual hats.
There's a lot in here that is interesting, but so much of it is a different form factor and UI/UX on technology that already exists.
We saw swimming among sharks and walking on Mars, both having potential for highly informative and educational experiences. The rhetoric wasn't about how much richer viewing Mars is interactively vs with flat, composite panoramas. The Mars bit was about ~12 seconds with talk about how it was desolate and they wouldn't want to live there… quick, get us out and here and lets move on to… the Facebook offices (a more uninspired location for Zuckerberg to choose I can not imagine). Oh, let's play a card game and let's draw a sword for sword fights! The ability to draw in midair and interact with the thing drawn is the real interesting stuff, stuff that we haven't been able to do before, and this was a demo that said, to me, "Farmville is coming to virtual reality".
Where was showing us things we can't currently, easily do without virtual reality? The live walk through of a building yet to be built? The facilities engineer working with plumbers and electricians on a live, interactive 3d model of a building? The interior designer doing interactive, full-size test fits of furniture? The student walking on the surface of other planets for study prep? The inclusiveness and team building of a remote team working in the same virtual space (this was mentioned briefly in the face expressions portion)? The ability to create and dynamically reconfigure complex user interfaces that would be otherwise impossible to create in reality? Leveraging the facial expressions to read people while playing poker would have been more interesting and a step above current on-line poker playing, more so than "look, we can throw around these cards".
Most of this bit looked like it was scripted. It could have been scripted better to showcase actual advances VR enables, kept the "ooh ahh", maintained the conversational tone and gotten rid of the mundane stuff. I don't think "placing a video call from the outside world into VR" is "pretty amazing".
I can't help but wonder what the revelations about Palmer Lucky's ties to racist "shitposting" brigades bode for the future of collaborative VR spaces. I guess at least this time we know we're wading into a cesspool, all utopian forecasting aside.
Before, we needed historians to tie together all the disparate threads of the record to make sense of these kinds of things, with all the time and work that entailed. But in an our era, where so much of life is lived in public, digital spaces, the time between the message and what it telegraphs is much shorter, and maybe more clear.
1. Folding at home. I loved letting it run and getting points and looking at the cool night time map of the world with all the yellow dots showing others running Folding at home. I felt like part of something!
2. Playstation Home went away
3. The ability to install Linux went away. There's a class action lawsuit, if I join I could get $7. Wheee.
4. They sent a firmware update that bricked it. I was never able to recover it.
Try it out. The rooms are smaller so less people jumping in and out.
This should change in next generations of VR helmets.
Purely optical tracking just doesn't seem do it for now, since there are all types of occlusions happening. Maybe something like LEAP with multiple sensors in the room that are able to reconstruct the whole skeletal model up to digits and facial expression (minus eyes, which obviously have to be captured in headset if needed). Currently that is possible with the perception neuron, which is not really fit for casual use based on price (+ USD 1500) and setup time.
I expect to see such high-def video-wall setups achieve market penetration faster than 3D headsets. It's "worse is better" all over again.
1) The amount of things you can do in VR is more expansive than any medium before. Video conferences for the most part is used to catch up or transfer information faster (or at least that's how I use it, to catch up with friends/business who are far away). However, it's tougher to use video chats to build NEW experiences, and I can only really think of Google Hangouts and playing something like WarLight/editing a doc that does that. Humans for the most part build better relationships when both parties have shared experiences, and in VR you can actually do a lot of things that you could in real life. This is why it's so different from just "videoconferencing"
2) It finds a balance in anonymity and not having to commit 100% to a conversation. For example, when you video conference you have to pay more attention/be more aware of how you're acting, which explains why many times we choose to have text convos rather than just calling the other person. In social VR you're just an avatar so you don't have to care as much about your appearance/interaction/subtle facial expressions etc. The outward behavioral bar is lower so you can relax and enjoy the environment even more.
VR is a powerful medium because it addresses the above two points - you don't have to be as concerned about your appearance/interaction when you're an avatar AND you can actually do more tangible things in VR to actually BUILD better relationships.
On the Rise and Fall of the Videophone:
> And the videophonic stress was even worse if you were at all vain. I.e. if you worried at all about how you looked. As in to other people. Which all kidding aside who doesn’t. Good old aural telephone calls could be fielded without makeup, toupee, surgical prostheses, etc. Even without clothes, if that sort of thing rattled your saber. But for the image-conscious, there was of course no such answer-as-you-are informality about visual-video telephone calls, which consumers began to see were less like having the good old phone ring than having the doorbell ring and having to throw on clothes and attach prostheses and do hair- checks in the foyer mirror before answering the door.
> The proposed solution to what the telecommunications industry’s psychological consultants termed Video-Physiognomic Dysphoria (or VPD) was, of course, the advent of High-Definition Masking; and in fact it was those entrepreneurs who gravitated toward the production of high-definition videophonic imaging and then outright masks who got in and out of the short-lived videophonic era with their shirts plus solid additional nets.
Full Excerpt from Infinite Jest: http://declineofscarcity.com/?page_id=2527
Another bit of gold from that excerpt:
> First there’s some sort of terrific, sci-fi-like advance in consumer tech — like from aural to video phoning — which advance always, however, has certain un- foreseen disadvantages for the consumer; and then but the market-niches created by those disadvantages — like people’s stressfully vain repulsion at their own videophonic appearance — are ingeniously filled via sheer entrepreneurial verve; and yet the very advantages of these ingenious disadvantage-compensations seem all too often to undercut the original high-tech advance, resulting in consumer-recidivism and curve-closure and massive shirt-loss for precipitant investors. In the present case, the stress- and-vanity-compensations’ own evolution saw video-callers rejecting first their own faces and then even their own heavily masked and enhanced physical likenesses and finally covering the video-cameras altogether and transmitting attractively stylized static Tableaux to one another’s TPs. And, behind these lens-cap dioramas and transmitted Tableaux, callers of course found that they were once again stresslessly invisible, unvainly makeup- and toupeeless and baggy-eyed behind their celebrity-dioramas, once again free — since once again unseen — to doodle, blemish-scan, manicure, crease-check — while on their screen, the attractive, intensely attentive face of the well-appointed celebrity on the other end’s Tableau reassured them that they were the objects of a concentrated attention they themselves didn’t have to exert.
We know that IRL we can be in physical proximity with one another, but perhaps it's the joint commitment to the experience that builds the meaning.
Better relationships probably are built on more commitment, not less.
While VR provides anonymity (taking away some emotional commitment of human expression/emotion), the actual shared experiences you're doing is more powerful than any other medium and is pushing on the multiple other levers of commitment such as time, energy, attention, etc.
So VR is creating better relationships through commitments of multiple type and strength.
1st gen: Those VR stations that used to be in malls
2nd gen: Shitty headsets you could attach to a genesis/snes
3rd gen: Occulus (you may be considering this first gen?)
4th gen: vive/fove/[Sony/Samsung/Google]VR
How long ago was this? VR advances very quickly.
Almost daily I do Skype calls most of them are video calls. Most of the times I have several people in the room who still can continue to communicate directly without and technical intermediary. In addition you can write down notifications, doodle, multi-task.
For games, I used to play doom in vr in 1997 and after 5 min the whole looking around thing gets stale and you just want to sit down and relax on the couch/chair. See Wiimote.
Thankfully, for these cases, I've got EVE: Valkyrie, which is a sit-down experience. Looking around is required as you are flying a ship in 6-degrees-of-freedom.
I'm not sure what the solution is.
I'm probably just being ignorant and not appreciating the amount of effort that went into the app.
I can see how Google's take on VR works, you re-use the phone in a budget way and have apps that make sensible use of the format - games, 3D immersive stuff exhibition tour stuff and other Google goodies that are good toys. Really this brings to life what Google do anyway with StreetView, photosheres and so on, so it makes sense. I can see a large army of casual VR users making occasional use of that stuff. I can also see hi-end gaming going for VR, that makes sense too and seemed the obvious market for the Oculus product. Facebook seem to think they have some special transformative take on that, a bit like how the Wii took the games console out of the teenager's bedroom and put it in the front room for mum to do her fitness training games on. Until we see the product and applications some belief is required and even then I will not be an early adopter. This VR stuff has evolved slightly the 'cardboard' way but the fundamentals have not changed in the last 20 years. The problems have nothing to do with nausea from immersive VR, people probably had the same concerns about the horseless carriage. The problems are more to do with what exactly that use case is that compels people to be wearing VR headsets for hours every day and whether people really do want to block out their sight to wear some immersive headgear. This isn't going to happen on the commute home for a while.
I wear mine as much as I can (sadly I don't have hours a day to do it, but I would if i could) VR Gaming is literally just the beginning. As I mentioned in another comment, Onward is a good demonstration of the potential here. Game-play aside, the social aspect feels very different. The game, as an FPS would be very lame, but with the way it handles communication it's a really great experience. Interactions feel more "life like". I'm really excited to see how far it goes.
Seing how chat apps are used so much, I think this is brilliant. They really do get social.
I also don't see most users designing avatars that look like them. It shouldn't be too hard to do a conversion from a photo.
Also compare it to the PSVR social app:
Here's a demo from one of the groups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgKkEnaaSDc - they used strain gauges inside the goggles to track muscle movement of the upper face, and stuck a camera on a stick hanging off the googles to capture lower face movement.
Here's another one that uses photo-reflective sensors attached to a set of eyeglasses, which can be worn inside a VR headset. For this demo I had to remove my prescription glasses, so it was unfortunately quite hard to say how well it worked! https://vimeo.com/132772990
That is, until we work out using a stable wormhole as the means of observation.
So as long as you don't see any cameras around, you can be pretty sure that you're not part of the background of some weird earnings report that needs to be hosted in times square, at the bottom of the ocean, or inside a volcano.
It was a lot of fun, and I went and grabbed the entire family and forced them to try it too. They all enjoyed it. Very different experience from anything else.
But since then, I have had no desire to go back and do it again. Nor have any of the family members mentioned it (including three boys between 5 and 12 who love gaming). Nothing about the experience was compelling enough to capture my attention in the long term.
VR has great novelty factor, but no killer apps (yet?).
VR is an amazing medium for remote social interactions. There's potential here. Not everything has to be about selfies, and self obsession. It's possible for random people to have a good time with each other. The internet makes it possible for you to find another person similar to who YOU are, and VR makes that interaction more personable. It's literally the best of both "Worlds".
"we can do anything we want"
Does anyone know if there are any other demos/applications available?
It seemed a bit forced in my opinion.
Virtual Reality describes the apparatus, and the merging of reality with simulation, or even simulacra of our physical sensoria.
Hyper-reality describes the meta nature of our culture, media, and society. Imagine this: consuming a video of Zuck talking about VR headsets whilst wearing a VR headset, whilst inside Facebook headquarters, all inside your Facebook timeline.
Ok in all seriousness.
We little humans perceive most of our world through spatial interactions. The possibilities to make a world enhancing device are incredible and scare me.
I'm concerned that people will forget how great the real Redwood forest is. Or how great real sex is. Or how meaningful life can be apart from a virtual Reality. I'm afraid that the fake version could be so appealing that I would reject the real and choose to dive into my own Matrix. Many people already play 7 hours per day...what's to stop them from never leaving a more immersive experience?
Like I said, the positive potential to improve science/meetings/remote work/etc is pretty incredible. I don't want to sound like a Debbie downer. But sheesh we need to consider the potential risks to society of a pseudo-reality addiction that is as alluring as VR will be very soon.
Is anyone else concerned?
What you're saying is true, but AR/VR is magnitudes of scale more immersive than any tool or artform human's have had.
You talk about IRL things like trips, hikes, etc - but AR will become so integrated into those experiences that the patina of Reality (which OP is talking about) may very well all but disappear.
Disruptive technologies are often initially viewed from an oppositional mindset, which makes sense, because any disruptive technology will steal time away from the Old Activities that existed before the technology. People who aren't early adopters will naturally focus on the decrease in the time spent on Old Activities.
We saw this oppositional reaction when the internet gained popularity:
* People are spending so much time in cyberspace that they won't know how to effectively navigate the real world
* People are having fantasy cyber-lives instead of spending time in the Real World
* He's seeing someone he met online, he must not know how to interact with Real People
* And so on.
But social networks descended on society in an incredibly short period of time, and worked their way into the furthest corners of our lives. The oppositional mindset gave way to an integrative one, where the notion of a "CyberLife", as distinct from a "life", is simply misplaced- the internet is now simply a part of life, sans prefix and with a lowercase "l", no longer boxed up in the conceptual category of "the Cyber".
There was another motifical recurrence when smartphones entered the fray. The oppositional critiques were voluminous and eloquent:
* We're spending so much time texting we're forgetting how to speak to each other
* Every crack in every interaction is plastered over with the ritualized and mutually fraudulent "notification check", signposting the way to the unravelling of the social fabric..., etc.
* You can find the Real World up there, when you hold your head high, with dignity, and not down there, with your head bowed, staring transfixed at a shining rectangle, face ghost-like, bathed in the soft pearlescent glow of vapidity.
But at some point, the integrative mindset arrived. It's hard to maintain the oppositional mindset when you get off your Uber, arrive at a restaurant that you found on Yelp, and are chatting to your friend on WhatsApp, only to have them sit down in front of you. The handoff between "smartphone life" and "real life" is seamless. Smartphones are woven so deeply into our lives that if you ask someone how their "smartphone life" compares to their "real life", they'll just give you a strange look. Smartphones are just a part of life.
I think VR/AR could go in this direction, as just another arrow in our technological quiver. If we start looking at things like social VR, which has the potential to reshape the way we interact remotely, or how architects are today routinely using VR to demo to clients, it's not impossible to believe that the integrative mindset could eventually overcome the oppositional mindset in terms of how we think about VR.
The truth is that humans have a tendency to be lazy. It's not a simple case of equal substitution; we will happily choose inferior substitutions which require less effort (or expense or time or complexity).
Will people choose to "travel" via VR? Yes. Will this reduce real-life traveling? Absolutely. The sense of having been somewhere will reduce our need to actually GO there.
I this the rise of VR will see many become thoroughly entranced (addicted?) and less productive and even alive than they were previously. We will see society split into two groups: one large, one small. The small group will be comprised of the productive, who limit their entertainment consumption in any medium (but especially VR). This group will be exponentially more affluent than the much larger group. The larger group will be comprised of the numerous people who already consume what is already available through any medium: Netflix, Xbox, cable, internet, tablets, phones, etc. These are the people who (best case scenario) have a full-time job, but they spend every other possible waking hour watching or playing something. More and more of this group are working less and consuming/playing more. And we're not talking about real life here. Just think about World of Warcraft--but on steroids. It's going to be insane how addictive VR will be once the bugs have been ironed out.
In short: I too worry that this is something the human race is not prepared for. I worry that our proclivities dispose us to losing ourselves in it at the expense of our real life and responsibilities.
The truth of the matter is that, anecdotally, I look back over my 38 years and I can see the impact on my life of the digital revolution. I want to do more with my life, but oftentimes the allure of the easy "hit" via Netflix or the internet is more of a draw than spending my free time learning languages, exercising, meditating, working on some of my app ideas, writing, or reading. Instead I choose the cognitively easy "hit" at the expense of my personal development and health.
Think about smartphones and tablets. They can and sometimes are used for meaningful and productive purposes. They can be very useful tools. But for most people they're a distraction and a time suck. Which is to say most people spend most of their time on their devices not doing anything meaningful: playing the latest hot game, Facebooking, Facetiming, Snapchatting, reading the news (as vapid as it is). I predict VR will be more of the same.
Either way, we will see...
I'm less convinced that the impacts of these new technologies are as pernicious as you claim, though I'm very open to the idea that hyperrewarding stimuli can "hack" reward pathways carefully tuned for a very different environment, be it McDonalds, PornHub, cocaine, or even Netflix.
But ultimately this is an empirical question, and while I see strong evidence that the food industry exploits our evolved impulses with carefully crafted payloads of calorie-dense foods, I don't see correspondingly strong evidence for a drop in productivity with the rise of ubiquitous, frictionless distraction- if anything we see a negative correlation.
Also worryingly absent from this analysis is the smorgasbord of opportunities for self-improvement that technology has created. Through technology, millions of people have picked up hobbies, languages, instruments, careers, partners, and yes, World of Warcraft, but I don't think we could tabulate these effects into a "net-technology-induced-eudaimonia" metric and say with a straight face that the result turned out to be negative after all.
Further red flags go up with your assertion that the population will bifurcate into the productive and unproductive, which seems to posit some mechanism that AFAIK we don't have good evidence for, like a susceptibility to distraction that's bimodally distributed among the population, or the lack of/ existence of various feedback effects that would amplify small variations, etc.
Anyway, my main point is not that these general concerns are unfounded, but that they're not well-supported by empirical evidence, so we're probably in broad agreement on that front.
I can view this possibly useful among the Snapchat crowd, but Snapchat allows for deferred messaging, which has great use.
Not to mention very awkward.
The VR app itself looked super cheesy, too. It's embarrassing to see a company with Facebook's resources come out with an app whose avatars don't look much better than a couple of South Park characters.
Way too much hype, and too little substance. Call me back in 10 years, when a serious VR Skype-killer app arrives.
The avatars did seem pretty childish, which makes me think this thing could be aimed at kids and teens. Makes sense, given their adoption of Pokemon Go.
He really could benefit from a couple of years of basic Toastmasters' training, not to mention how much he could improve with the help of a world-class speech coach (or even a team of them) that he could easily afford.
It's refreshing to have someone who isn't so polished. Sure, the dude stutters and stammers, but it's not to the detriment of being able to parse whatever he happens to be saying, ist it? This softer-touch presentational style is where he has derived so much reverence, envy, and cultural capital.
Jacob: Yeah, I'm a prisoner. It's called "doing hard time".
Adam: Can't you be like a warrior or shaman or orc or some shit like that?" — Hot Tub Time Machine
On a lower note, I wish there were real games rather than this kind of things, but I still find it amazing.
Is that the trend now?
Can't help but notice how certain kind of intellectuals always view animals with contempt. They may love the animal, but they see it as a "pet". What they're really saying, is that the dog is stupid.
Now personally, I'm not really excited about technology that's designed by people who live so much in their head, that they categorize the world in "intelligent humans" and "stupid animals". I kid you not, I'm pretty sure, many of them do actually believe that making a computer that simulates a completely working dog and all its behaviours is just a matter of time.. because hey, "the brain is just a computer" and obviously to them, a dog's brain is a much simpler computer...
Now animals being stupid isn't enough. The world also is stupid, so let's just recreate trees, which are obviously just a collection of parts "branch", "trunk" and so on. Wooooo. And then let's touch ourselves all day thinking about how the world is a simulation because we're obviously just a few millenia away of simulating ourselves.
I'm sure they really love their dog... but to me these type of comments are not innocent. It reveals the materialistic paradigm that drives people making those technologies, and I'm not sure it is for the better.
We're pretty much designing everything on mobile around addiction already, we need more ethics in the way that technology is designed. Especially when it is designed by people who's primary motivation in life is to amass riches rather than actually making our life better.