Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Feature of the Brave New World

Idea for a scene in upcoming futuristic sci-fi Hollywood flick.

It's a typical day in the life of a middle class business man named Jack. Jack's trip to the office begins with getting situated in his self-driving car, then putting on and adjusting his VR goggles. As his car passes through slums and tenements, he only sees happy faces and cheerful neighbors, suburban lawns, fountains and flower gardens. It's the ultra-modern techno-version of the brain-in-the-vat supra-pleasing stimuli-feed. Whatever your station in life you can now live in the right neighborhood.

He's wearing an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, version 9.01. The original had been launched in 2016, but had some kinks and was somewhat pricey. Now, 15 years later, they were $39.95 and available everywhere, with a version even available in Wal-Mart. Originally developed for Gamers, the units have been a standard feature in self-driving cars for the past three years.

On his way to the office Jack can go anywhere in the world, from Google Adventure to Google Zoo. It's Google Augmented Reality at its finest. He never has to push a button; he simply mutters commands.

One of the cool parts of going to Google Zoo is that there are no cages for the virtual animals. The park is packed with all kinds of creatures, including numerous species that have now disappeared from the planet. Google Sea also has similar features. The whale may be part of the past in real life, but here in Google Sea you still get the opportunity to hear them, and get near them. If you're lucky you can even touch one. And if you're really lucky you can participate in saving a beached whale and feeling really good about it.

Yes, the experiences are virtual, but the feelings are real. We certainly want to feel good, and nothing feels better than helping others, even if it's only virtual.

Google Adventure is a project that began in the early 2020s, transforming Hollywood classics into 3-D VR in which you get to become a character. After purchasing the entire library of Universal Studios, and signing a licensing agreement with Ted Turner, Google began converting the films from entertainment to participatory experience. In many cases, as with early Hitchcock films, you can choose to experience your role in color or black & white.

It may be that your job entails mindful attention and mental preparation rather than diversion as you commute. Many executives will choose Tony Robbins and other success workshops instead. You can even overcome fear on the Firewalk, and dare to be great.

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I decided to pass over Throwback Thursday and throw in a few Throw-Forward thoughts after reading about the current status of VR and last week's Oculus Rift Game Developers Conference.

Meantime, life goes on all around you. Or does it?

All trademarks, such as Oculus Rift and Google, are property of their respective owners.

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