Virtual Reality Is Our Future
Changes occurring today in almost all areas of human activity and due to the development and distribution of digital technologies (including virtual reality technologies) are so significant, and the rate of these changes is so high that their understanding sometimes does not keep up with them. These changes determine no less significant changes in the psychology of man and his world perception.
Virtual reality is an environment created using a hardware-software computer complex into which a user can dive in interact with it in real time. Few years ago, multiple surveys revealed that most of the respondents do not see the difference between the information of an auditory nature, obtained in genuine and virtual realities. A quarter of respondents stated that they saw a difference in the specifics of information of a visual nature, and almost half pointed out differences in kinesthetic information. This allowed the researchers to conclude that for the “complete fusion” of genuine and virtual realities, the latter lacks tactile sensations.
Now, modern technologies of virtual reality are not limited to visual, auditory and tactile simulations. The development of computer technology of virtual reality has led to the fact that with respect to reality not related to computer virtuality, the terms “real reality” and “non-virtual reality” are increasingly used. The use of such terminology is not accidental. Modern virtual reality technologies make it possible not only to easily introduce a person into an altered state of consciousness, to arouse various illusions, disrupt orientation in space, manipulate the perception of time gaps, provoke some mental disorders, but also affect human senses and consciousness so strongly to deprive him the ability to independently distinguish an artificially created reality from a genuine one.
A Trick for Human Brain
So, what would our world be like in VR? How would we feel? Numerous experiments demonstrate that the human brain is easy to cheat. Thus, the Swedish researchers conducted a series of experiments, during which they put a virtual reality helmet on the test subject, and two video cameras directed downward on the dummy’s head. When the tested subject looked down, the images of the cameras mounted on the mannequin were fed to the monitors of his helmet. Within a few minutes, the subject had the full feeling that the dummy’s body was his own. Similarly, when cameras were placed on the head of the second test subject, and at the time of the handshake, they showed images from them to the first one, he had the feeling that he was shaking hands with himself.
The illusion of the “exchange of bodies” was so strong that when a knife was brought to the dummy, the instruments recorded the reaction on the human skin. The ability of the human brain to distinguish reality from fiction strongly depends on the degree of personal significance that the objects presented to it for differentiation have. For some people, the personal significance of fictional characters is not inferior to the significance of real characters.
Digram of brain-computer interface based on virtual reality
The images created with the help of virtual reality often differ by perfect orderliness of shaping, and the extraordinary activity, brightness, and attractiveness allow them to manage natural emotions, enhancing them. The ability to simultaneously live in the real and virtual world provides people with new ways of thinking and perception, expanding their natural, genetic capabilities, and virtual worlds, which appear to them as pure information, captivate the minds and the hearts.
At present, more and more intensive work is being carried out, aimed at the direct “exit” of emotions, that is, bypassing images of perception. They are replaced by an electronic analog of the biochemical processes of the human brain, affecting emotions directly. At the same time, the contrast of the never “tired” receptive sensuality of the electronic type and the traditional emotionality, which does not have the same margin of safety, is already evident today.
Virtual reality is presented to us as a way to realize the creative abilities of an individual, and recognizing the effectiveness and high potential of using virtual reality technologies in many areas of human activity, we believe that the capabilities of these technologies are undervalued.
A Glance Through the Lens of Modern art
To imagine what our lives would be like in virtual reality, we can read a lot of scientific literature or simply watch several movies. Modern sci-fi literature and cinema have already given (sometimes even at a good artistic level) many possible models of human actions in virtual reality, as a rule, non-artistic: in them, or in general, the line between the real and virtual worlds is usually erased. Judging by the current trends in the development of virtuality, it can be assumed that in virtual reality, ideals that were in the aesthetics of the 20th century can be realized in a somewhat unexpected manner: the ultimate activation of the subject of art perception, its involvement in the creation and development of the work; complete fusion of art with life and even some kind of “electronic collectivity” of consciousness.
Quite interesting in this regard is film “The Matrix” of the Wachowski brothers. If for the viewer this is a proto-virtual experience, then for the characters of the film it is a total immersion in virtual reality, in which the computer program completely replaces them with real life. The virtual reality version created in this film, as in some others, makes you wonder whether it is possible at all to really talk about aesthetic experience, the experience of art in the traditional understanding of these phenomena with the actual realization of this type of virtual reality. Here (for characters who model future real-world virtual reality recipients), the contemplative moment necessary for aesthetic experience in its classical sense is almost completely excluded. It is replaced by a game activity, which can lead to a real death of the character. At the same time, the main characters who consciously enter the virtual space and have the opportunity to leave it independently, are constantly aware that they are in virtual reality, in which they are obliged to act as in real life.
Here, almost all the mechanisms of classical aesthetic experience do not work, and today we have to think about the holistic and fundamentally different than all we know, the aesthetics of virtual reality, its forms, mechanism of action, boundaries.
Virtual reality as a full-fledged phenomenon of computer-network art is still in the stage of active formation. Nonetheless, today we can observe the forms and stages of this formation, prepare a methodological basis for studying the emerging fundamentally new phenomenon of being and of consciousness, to reveal the space of already existing analogies, para-, quasi-, proto-phenomena of computer-network art-virtuality.
Computer virtual reality is often viewed as a result of the development of an interactive human-machine system, as a substitute for a text-graphic interface for an interface that uses three-dimensional visualization, feedback, tracking and tactile sensations. Many researchers are confident that modern virtual reality technologies will become the basis for building fundamentally new generations of interfaces with which the man-machine tandem will acquire qualitatively new possibilities.
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