Digital escapism: VR will allow us to live in the world we want to

Virtual reality may replace the reality that we know and live in, when internet speeds become fast enough.

The suggestion that we may spend more time in a virtual world than the physical one has been made in a report from the Pew Research centre, US.

The report looked at how the world around us, and our interactions with it, would change as connectivity across the world improves.

We could also pick the worlds that we live in when things aren’t going well for us, or if there is something else that we would rather be doing.


“One killer app that could take off is a virtual reality environment. Forget reality, live in your selected world. Visit wherever and whenever,” said journalism and mass communication professor Alison Alexander from the University of Georgia.

Escapism has been a growing trend that has advanced with the development of new technologies that demand out attention with pings and notifications distracting us at almost every hour of the day.

But technology will also, according to the report, allow us to escape the world even more. This is partly due to VR developments such as the Oculus Rift.

“Virtual reality becomes the reality,” said David J Wierz, a strategic analytics professional for OCI.

He said that with advances in internet speed, “more practical applications come in creating fully interactive, personalised touring as well as visitation with family and friends. There is further the means to engage in ‘live’ sports and ‘play’ the game with a team set in one location or composed across multiple geographies.”


The report concluded that augmented reality will allow us to properly understand our real-life surroundings and virtual reality will be able to allow us spend more time in simulated environments.

The demand and need for more connectivity that can help and change people’s lives can be seen from leading technology companies attempts to bring internet connectivity to areas of the world that don’t currently have it. Facebook’s Internet.Org project, Google has its Project Loon that is trying to use balloons to provide free internet, and also the start-up Outernet.

Alexander also shared the view that providing more connectivity to as many parts of the world as possible will help to shape better societies.

She continued: “This is not a killer app, but the global nature of connectivity could foster an integrated world economy, breaking down the importance of nations and governments.

“Foolish optimism, but perhaps we will even be able to make bureaucracy operate more effectively. I am very excited about the power of connectivity to solve research problems.”

Featured image and second inline image courtesy of Draxtor Despres, first inline image courtesy of Sergey Galyonkin.

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