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Todd Suomela

The Promise and Disappointment of Virtual Reality | Literary Hub - 0 views

  • Of course, whether it is using VR for the treatment of vertigo and PTSD, or drawing our attention to unconscious biases like racism, it is possible that VR does have the ability to change our perception of the world around us, that the knowledge we gain from this technology can be transformative.

    But Plato’s Cave presupposes that those freeing the prisoner from their chains to reveal the true nature of “reality” are altruistic in their intent—that the world being shown the freed prisoners is indeed the truth. It is an allegory that does not allow for the world as it is today, or the pervasive desire to escape it.

    The continued commercial failure of VR may represent an unconscious resistance to jettisoning our connection to the real. Maybe we are waiting for that blockbuster game to drive mass-market appeal. Perhaps the technology simply is not good enough yet to simulate a truly authentic—and profitable—experience. In this sense we are trapped. We crave authenticity of experience but, despite the efforts of philosophers, authors and auteurs, our imaginations appear limited to what we can individually consume and identify with. While capitalism lumbers on, we cannot see anything but the shadows on the wall.

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