Monday, March 12, 2007

Whatever Happened to Virtual Reality?

RU Sirius, who is a colleague at PajamaNation interviews Virtual Reality developer Jaron Lanier who was generally accepted as the public face of VR during the heady period that lasted from about 1989-91:

Second Life is a timid sampling of what was then envisioned.

There were dozens of conferences about VR and lots of national media coverage in every major outlet. There were movies and TV shows that revolved around VR and there was even one arcade game. But VR quickly disappeared from public consciousness.

In VR, at some point, you would be able to be inside this place with other people where you were making it up as you went along. What people really wanted was a kind of intimacy where you’re making up a dream together with other people. You’re all experiencing it. I was calling it post-symbolic communication. The basic idea is that people thought that with VR they would be able to experience a kind of intense contact with imagination, some sort of fusion of the kind of extremes of aesthetics and emotional experience you might have when you open up the constraints of reality.
All in all it's an interesting and wide ranging interview which I would recommend.

Andy, was Lanier talking about 3D worlds here or something more like a CAVE:
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