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The Dark Side Of Virtual Reality They Don’t Tell You


Virtual Reality is gradually finding its way into mainstream practical applications from gaming to movies. From Facebook’s Oculus to Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, VR is set to change the way we live. From helping to prevent physical presence of humans in difficult terrains to near real life experiences in health analysis, VR is changing the way we live. The fact is this, the VR experience is so cool and with any cool stuff, its addictive and when that happens the end result may not be as cool. That’s what we want to try and cover in this article.

The first possible consequence of VR is that it’ll make us less social just like the irony of the social media networks. Well put simply, it’s difficult for many of us to actually think of what we were like before now. Before social media, we used to actually write letters and actually go out to visit other people and didn’t even have to call before coming. Physical interaction was the order of the time. Social media changed the way we interacted with each other while redefining what friendship actually meant. To make you understand the effects of VR fully, just take a look at how much we have changed in the social media era and think of a further change from that on steroids. That’s it right there, VR is social media on steroids with  a further probe into our natural lives.

It will change the way you watch movies, play games and overall consciousness of your immediate environment. So instead of just chatting and sending emojis to represent your feelings online, you can now do so in more real ways. With VR you wouldn’t need emojis, you would able to connect with people online the way they are wherever they are. It goes well beyond video conferencing because with VR, you can live and operate in another environment without being there physically. So Bose wants Emeka to see her new apartment and actually help with something there say an electric bulb. With this technology, all Emeka needs are the right tools like  headset and camera among other tools through which he can get himself into Bose’s apartment and actually help her with what she needs. But that’s just one simple way of putting it. Think about other applications of this like gaming and pornography on VR.  

Let’s talk about pornography for a second. As you may already know, its addictive and has a n effect similar to drug addiction on your brain and this is accoring to professionals. According to Dr. Valerie Voon of the University of Cambridge in her publication on the subject,  found that three regions in particular were more active in the brains of the people with compulsive sexual behaviour compared with the healthy volunteers. Significantly, these regions – the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala – were regions that are also particularly activated in drug addicts when shown drug stimuli. The ventral striatum is involved in processing reward and motivation, whilst the dorsal anterior cingulate is implicated in anticipating rewards and drug craving. The amygdala is involved in processing the significance of events and emotions……. There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts,” adds Dr Voon. “Whilst these findings are interesting, it’s important to note, however, that they could not be used to diagnose the condition. Nor does our research necessarily provide evidence that these individuals are addicted to porn – or that porn is inherently addictive.  Much more research is required to understand this relationship between compulsive sexual behaviour and drug addiction.

The reason this could even get worse with VR is because its more real and this means addicts would now be open to a whole new virtual environment which makes the experience more satisfying and as Naughty America (a pornography content company) noted at the last E3 event, “The adult industry has been under siege by tube sites,” the company’s CIO Ian Paul told TechCrunch. “[With VR], we can raise the bar and get people to subscribe to porn again. “

Once people are addicted to this new reality, they would do just anything for it including engaging in vices to pay for it. As you see above, this might be a new source of revenue for the pornography industry which has seen revenues fall gradually with a proliferation of sites that offer free content.

How about games?

While we have seen addicted gamers, it can’t be compared to what we expect with this new VR technology. According to Vice, This isn’t a horror movie—this is the reality that we live in. In 2015, a 17-year-old boy died in his Russian home after playing DOTA for 22 days straight. He took all the recommended breaks to eat and sleep, but died of blood clots formed because of his lack of movement for long periods.

A year earlier, a South Korean couple were so wrapped up in an online video game, Anima: Beyond Fantasy, in which they raised a virtual child together, that they failed to feed their own infant child, who starved to death. In 2012, an 18-year-old in Taiwan booked a private room at an internet cafe and died after playing Diablo III for 40 hours without eating. According to the network, you can click here to read excerpts on  2015 publication titled  Death By Video Game by Simon Parkin.

With VR, users are able to even live in a more isolated environment because you can actually integrate with a whole new world that wasn’t “physically” there for you. Already on social media, people connect more with virtual friends than real life people and actually in many cases trust them with more information than they would physical friends. People now rely on social media for intimacy and advice by someone they have never seen before and it’s about to get worse as VR spreads across the world as it promises even a more real virtual relationship with people and activities than your physical world. It even promises to take your routines like running, calls, chats among to a whole new level with better results. All major tech companies are brining VR into their services. Facebook is introducing this to messenger in form of Chatbots, Google’s Allo is bringing the VR experience to instant messaging and Microsoft is introducing advanced changes to its virtual assistant, Cortana.

In conclusion though, Virtual Reality has its advantages and how much it can make life easier. But in an uncontrolled scenario, it could be dangerous. The responsibility now rests on the individual’s shoulders to use it well while not forsaking the physical environment completely. It should complement your natural environment and not eliminate it.

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