When the last man lays desiccated on a rancid Lazyboy, his goofy grin frozen beneath cheap VR goggles, the robots will have finally won.
Joe, I am 61 years old, and was in my teens when “pong” came out. It was “the thing” of that time and we played it relentlessly. But to me personally it was never as satisfying as the physical ping pong. In my 20’s we went to the bars drank Dark Heinekens and played Pac-Man, space invaders, and asteroids. Many of my friends really got hooked where I didn’t see the draw to keep going. As a result I never got proficient at any of these games. And got my ass kicked by non sentient AI relentlessly. And then later on, when I first heard of VR I was amazed at the tech, but never tried it.
Now the present VR Tech although amazing I’m sure... and as real as it must feel and be, I still have no interest? Curiosity yes. But No, it’s more like I have anxiety thinking about experiencing it, because my inner voice firmly tells me “don’t do it!” Because that voice, God’s voice, knows I’d probably like it to much? Sometimes you just have to listen to it.
I believe (or more like I know?) that in putting any of the head gear on to try VR, you must eventually or maybe even instantly give up part of your (un)conscious mind to really get the full experience, which I hold, is a way of giving up some part or even some sense of yourself, thus ultimately be controlled by the digital powers that “seem” to be.
And It’s either because I don’t want to give my mind over to the possibility of digital indoctrination and dogma of Scientism via AI and programming... OR, it’s as simple as I have more of a thing about Living in the here and now in God’s physical realm and reality He created for us. He blessed us the gift co-habitation as humans on a beautiful world. I feel this so, that it seems illogical (idiotic) and also redundant to add another reality to my thinking.
Plus, I have no interest in becoming a mass murderer of anything digital or otherwise, as I’m sitting drooling sitting on my couch waiting for my Uber Eats delivery.
So, I will continue to listen to my inner voice telling me “don’t do it.”
Great story you wrote. It’s atrocious to think that the first game you tried and quit is a game of suicide. That is so efffed up on so many levels. Evil doings abound in the tech.
Nice story of your journey. I understand better how you arrived at the deep exploration of the AI development and its dangers, hopes, dreams, and search for meaning for people to live in worlds beyond the mundane. As a kid growing up when computers were bid things for crunching numbers and accounting, I found my virtual reality in reading science fiction. The 1st book I ever bought in grade school was War of the Worlds by HG Wells and that started my journey. The stories and worlds in my head were so much better than the movies they made of those stories. So, I sure understand the lure for virtual reality. My problem with VR is it is not the mental play ground of ideas that good science fiction provided. Bad science fiction space operas were more like the shoot-em up VR games. The real threat is that VR can be so seductive. The phenomenal imagery now is like porn trapping the watcher at a visceral level. Not dissimilar to drugs like heroin. The shift manager in your story is much like the pusher introducing a kid to a "free" sample knowing they will come back and pay whatever the price to get that high again.
More Joe Allen, please…
It takes me two weeks in the woods to get back my smell, the ability to observe, the ability to move quietly, plus about 80 other things that humans do. VR? lol
Even when you are in a playful mood, as you must have been when you wrote this article, you remain right on as far as the reality we could be faced with in the not-too-distant future!! I look forward to your articles. Thanks for being a worthy journalist.
I still think 32 bit DOOM is dangerously addictive. I fear this new digital heroine, because I know myself.
I used an early form of VR on a Silicon Graphics computer to solve X-ray crystallography structures in the 90s. It was addictive then. Once, I lost track of time, arriving at work at about 6:30 am and stopping when I realized it was 5:30 pm. I can see how the modern games can be even more addictive.
These technologies are socially isolating, and can be used, purposely or not, to reprogram one’s brain, changing one’s personality, one’s ability to socially interact and reducing one’s ability to thrive. They are not unlike drugs. This reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Robot novels, where he describes the Martian civilization collapse and extinction due to this type of technology and people just didn’t care to keep themselves alive. It is disturbing.
outstanding article. I'm not ready to give up writing fiction -- far too theraputic -- but I have to admit, VR is an extension and an amputation of the imagination. Sad, as dreary as reality is, we'll miss it.
I appreciate how your writing invites people to think for themselves. No fear inducing sermonizing. You offer fact-based, entertaining insights on the seduction of humanity by technology. Keep feeding your readers the truth with the spoonful of sugar. It is effective and fun!
Oh my gosh what a great read!!!! I was totally sucked in with the part about you walking to the edge of the plank!!! I would not be able to do that either. I feel there is a part of reality that kicks in and makes you think what if this is real and not trusting that end result. I am a flight attendant and love to sky dive, so heights do not bother me BUT that VR with walking the plank is a whole other level...insane!!!!! I love reading your articles and hearing all of your insights! You are always so spot on! I also enjoy seeing you on Warroom with Bannon! Keep up the awesome work Joe!!!!
Good thing, I'm not into playing video games or use VR. My son had me try the goggles once, yeah, not for me. I live solely in the real world. Great read, as usual. 👏
Wow!! Absolutely appalling! The slow-walk of our youth into this ominous reality is now a present reality!! I'm seeing young ones who struggle to distinguish the difference between reality and virtual fiction. It's time to take our children off the grid.
Awesome writing Joebot!