Read the below and decide if you think the following observations are true:
- There is an unusually large percentage of the population entering old age. This segment is different than previous generations as their core identity is based on being young and carefree as they were in the sixties and seventies. They disdain the limitations of age and will adopt technologies, however imperfect, serving to help restore their sense of youth.
- This generation, along with everyone else in the country excluding the extremely rich, are stuck in financial trap where their wealth has not increased. Their wages are flat, their home values are flat and they have not saved sufficiently for retirement.
- Businesses, especially global ones, will invest heavily in technologies that allow far-flung teams to operate more efficiently.
- The military will invest untold truckloads of cash into technologies allowing them to train troops in realistic situations, improving their likelihood of success on today’s increasingly complex battlefields and decreasing their chances of being killed.
- Killing zombies is just a good time.
If you agree to most or all of these statements, allow me to introduce you to your new home. My hypothesis is as soon as this tech becomes 80% effective it will be adopted across the board.
On Friday my ten year old son, Stevens 12 year old daughter and I were able to try it on thanks to Clampadres Ocean Alliance and tech shaman/Clamtributor/Nam-shub of Enki Stevens Brosnihan. Here are my initial oberservations:
1. You put the thing on your head and suddenly you’re in a room in what looks not unlike a Northern Italian villa rendered in early 2000s video game software. But wherever you move your head you an see different parts of the room. Look up and you see the wooden beamwork of the ceiling. Look down and see the tiles of the floor. It is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. The first thing you want to do is…
2. Touch. The natural next thing you do is reach your arm out and try to touch the walls, but this is hyper-disorienting because you can’t see your own limbs and your hand is feeling Stevens’ bookcase and some paint brushes. Now your brain is sending “this is weird!” vibes.
3. You want to go for a walk. The kids actually tried to do this and wound up walking into a stand-up large format printer and a large fixed-wing Styrofoam drone (his workshop is awesome, btw). Your instant instinct is to look around and explore, see things and interact.
Guys, once they get this deal working, to paraphrase George Carlin, it’s going to make Crack look like Sanka.
I tried Second Life. It was way too full of weirdos. You just kind of moved around awkwardly and these anime chicks with fluffy tails and fox ears sporting a pair of zeppelins mounted on their torsos would come up and try and “talk” to you. Then the vampires would show up and the whole thing just wound up being like the creepier parts of a comics convention. Ten years later 2/3 of my son’s class is playing Minecraft with about a million other people online at any given time.
This is neither of those. It’s going to change everything. I, for instance, sometimes find myself with nothing to do in the evening and tend to watch reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on my laptop, the show where the robots make fun of old monster films. You put those robots in 3D and we get to walk around making fun of a realistic simulation of Victorian London and DEAR GOD JUST TAKE MY MONEY!!!!
It’s going to change storytelling. It’s going to change work. Once we link these things up to sophisticated systems it’s going to change the very nature of “locality” for specialists like doctors and lawyers and bulldozer drivers. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in the future, but I can easily see a time within the next two decades where a lot of people find themselves shambling around a crowded semi-urban kinda crappy landscape with no money and no power while spending the off-hours as an 8′ demigod in Lord of the Rings-like simulation. You can easily imagine them checking themselves into a U-Store-it with a bunch of tubes coming in and out of their various orifices.
Just wrap your head around the social implications of that.