The performances of Virtual reality (VR) in literature and film have often pushed the boundaries of what is possible, impressing with their creativity and technological vision. Films such as "Neuromancer", "Snow Crash", "Ready Player One", "Johnny Mnemonic", "Lawnmower Man", the holodeck from "Star Trek", "Ghost in the Shell" and the series "Upload" offer interesting insights into different visions of VR. Here we compare how VR is portrayed in these works with what is technologically feasible today.
In William Gibson's "Neuromancer", a Cyberspace which offers a comprehensive, immersive and networked virtual reality represents. Users are immersed in a digital world that is almost indistinguishable from reality. This representation of VR as a ubiquitous, networked system goes far beyond current VR technology, which mainly focuses on isolated, individual experiences.
Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" presents the "Metaverse", a huge, interactive virtual world populated by millions of users. This world combines aspects of the real and virtual worlds and allows users to shape their identities and experiences almost limitlessly. Today's VR comes closest to this concept with platforms such as VRChat, but falls far short of this vision in terms of scale, realism and interoperability.
"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline shows an extremely immersive VR world (OASIS) in which users can fully immerse themselves in an alternative reality. This representation exceeds the current technical possibilities, especially in terms of sensory and haptic experiences. Haptic suits for VR such as the Tesa Suit go in this direction.
"Johnny Mnemonic", a 1995 cyberpunk film starring Keanu Reeves, delves into a world of data couriers and cybernetics.
"Johnny Mnemonic" shows VR as a platform for enhanced human capabilities, especially in the area of memory and data processing. Today's VR technology focuses more on entertainment and education, although aspects of data visualization and interaction are increasingly included.
In "Lawnmower Man", VR is presented as a means of improving human intelligence and changing perception. This is in contrast to current VR, which mainly fulfills entertainment and educational purposes but does not yet offer any direct cognitive improvements.
The holodeck from "Star Trek" presents one of the most advanced VR environments with the ability to create fully realistic, interactive environments without the need to wear hardware. This technology is far more advanced than anything currently available and remains a fascinating vision.
The series "Upload" on Amzon presents a vision of the future in which human consciousness can be uploaded into a virtual environment. This depiction explores themes of immortality through technological advancement and ethics in a VR-dominated world. Current VR technologies are a far cry from this conception, but are increasingly focused on creating compelling and immersive experiences.
The visions of VR depicted in literature and film are more far-reaching and significantly more advanced than today's reality. However, they offer important insights into the potential of the technology and inspire further innovation in this area. Current VR technology has made impressive progress in a short space of time, but is still a long way from offering the comprehensive and seamlessly integrated virtual experiences depicted in these films.
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Clarence Dadson CEO Design4real