Sample English Paper on Virtual Reality

Abstract

While only a buzzword in the 80s, Virtual Reality is easily becoming the latest technology with a fanatic following. The number of VR users has grown from 2014 when the first VR gears were introduced, and there are predictions that the number of users will continue to grow as companies work to better the VR experience. The technology is currently affecting people’s lives, with companies using it for marketing, away from its known use by gamers. The future holds better prospects for virtual reality as tech companies improve on the technology, even as more people adopt it. While it provides a new way of touring far off places and even as an important tool in training, it is important to remember that VR can be addictive, causing the development of antisocial behavior, and eventually death through suicide and poor health.

I Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is the latest craze in the technology world. It has especially been popularized by the proliferation of VR gear and VR supporting smartphones, which are among the latest interests for technology enthusiasts. In its basic form, VR, through technology peripheries (VR gear), allows an individual to travel; looking around a virtual space (Greenwald, 2017). The technology gives the individual the feeling of being within the virtual space. The technology is fast gaining popularity, essentially heading towards mainstream use (not just for technology enthusiast/“nerds”). How, however, is virtual reality affecting lives as it becomes mainstream? What does the future hold for VR, and is it possible for people to live more in the virtual world than in the real world? Are there advantages and disadvantages of the new technology? This paper will attempt to answer all these pressing questions.

II How is Virtual Reality Affecting Our Lives?

The advent of the internet, smartphones and later social media, introduced humans to the virtual world, albeit through device screens. Virtual reality, however, changes the whole experience given the possibility that it brings. Essentially, the new possibilities that come with the ability to immerse oneself in the virtual environments changes human life and interaction as previously known. One of the ways VR is affecting our lives is giving people the ability to view distant places, as if they were there in real time (Stein, 2015). Such possibilities are already affecting marketing, especially in the real estate business where potential customers can take a tour of the property, suggest remodeling of the property, without necessarily physically being at the property.

VR is also already affecting learning of new and complex skills. The U.S. military for instance, is already using VR to train its personnel on complex activities and applications. One of the skills that has found immense use with VR is hand-to-hand combat, where soldiers train without getting bruised as would be the case in real training (Adams, 2016). Learning complex skills is therefore becoming easier, thanks to virtual reality.

VR is also a cause of sickness after the long use of the gear. Called motion sickness, continuous use and spending of time in the virtual environment causes nausea. The cause of nausea is the VR environment’s effect in balance perception, given that while the eyes see motion, the middle ear does not experience the motion (Stein, 2015). Continued use of VR, therefore, can have negative health effects, especially on individual balance and the feeling of nausea.

III What is the Future of Virtual Reality?

The fast adoption of VR means that there is indeed a bright future for VR. The application of VR in business and marketing is among the most viable, based on the current use of VR for virtual tours by different industries. The real estate industry is already using VR to enable clients view property without necessarily being at the property. It will only be a matter of time before they use VR for conceptualization of concepts and give ideas or remodeling (Adams, 2016). Combined with 3D modeling and printing, VR will indeed change the real estate industry.

VR additionally has a future in experiential marketing. It will be possible to attend concerts, take real time virtual tours of campuses and even of the space station as more companies adopt the use of VR marketing (Adams, 2016; Stein, 2015). The ability to place a potential client/customer to experience the product the company is trying to sell, thanks to VR, will most certainly revolutionize digital marketing and sale.

The current brand of VR equipment and gear lack the sense of touch. The future of VR will see more sensors developed to include the sense of touch and provide a more realistic feeling of the experience (Eadicicco, 2016). Transferring people into the virtual world to be spectators is going to die as the VR industry makes effort to make the VR experience as real as possible. in future therefore, physical interaction and more adoption of VR will see better sensors and more advancement in VR technology to allow more interaction.

IV Is it Possible that We Live More There and Less Here?

The current adoption of virtual reality and the time spent on social media augments the growing concern of people spending more time in the virtual world than in real life. Social media is a virtual reality of sorts with a growing usage. The advent of smartphones and VR gear mean that in addition to spending more time on social media, more people are beginning to spend more time in the VR worlds. A report on social media usage indicates that an average person owns at least five social media accounts, where they spend at least one hour 40 minutes every day (Davidson, 2015).

Statistics on the adoption and use of VR is also impressive. While only 4.1 million people used VR in 2015, the number has grown exponentially over the years, and it is anticipated to reach 171 million by the end of 2018 (Statista, 2018). While it is premature to consider people living more in the virtual world than in the real world, the fast adoption of VR and augmented reality technologies and the increased number of online users (particularly social media) points to a future of most people living in the online virtual worlds than in the real world.

V Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Reality

The exigencies of life put so much pressure on people, causing the desire to escape from the reality of life (taking a breather). Virtual reality provides this escape, where instead of focusing on the TV or movie, people can replace their nefarious realities with more appealing virtual ones (Kim, 2015). The reprieve from the reality is welcome, as it allows people to “restart” and be able to function much better after the short stint in the virtual world.

The application of virtual reality is training is welcome especially for programs that involve handling of dangerous chemicals, weapons or activities. The US military’s use of VR for combat-to-combat training ensures that while the personnel gain the necessary skills, no physical harm comes to them (Adams, 2016). VR make it possible to change scenarios, mostly realistic, have the trainees gain skills without necessarily putting their lives at risk.

However, like everything, VR is especially addictive and can lead to antisocial behavior and adverse health risks to the addicts. Research indicates that the Internet and VR have the potential of satisfying the social needs of its users, who eventually withdraw from the society (Kim, 2015). Development of self-imposed isolation, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and depression are among the negative effects of addiction to the virtual world. Moreover, some virtual reality addicts (particularly gamers) have committed suicide or died of malnutrition in a bid to join the heroes in the virtual worlds and due to lack of proper feeding respectively (Kim, 2015).

VI Conclusion

Virtual reality has come a long way to where it is currently. VR companies continue to invest in VR software and gear as its adoption moves mainstream. The future will therefore see VR becoming more immersive and interactive as it offers an escape route from the demands of the real world. However, it is important to remain cautious of VR given its potential for addiction, antisocial behavior and adverse effect on the health of the individual. Going forward, it is important to remember that VR is here to stay and will remain a part of modern technology as business adopt it for marketing and tech companies work to better the VR experience.

 

VII References

Adams, R., L. (2016). Five ways virtual reality will change the world. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertadams/2016/10/17/5-ways-virtual-reality-will-change-the-world/#4b4717102b01.

Davidson, L. (2015). Is your daily social media usage higher than average? The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/11610959/Is-your-daily-social-media-usage-higher-than-average.html.

Eadicicco, L. (2016). 3 things to know about the future of virtual reality. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/4324598/alienware-interview-virtual-reality/.

Greenwald, W. (2017). The best VR (Virtual Reality) headsets of 2018. PCMag. Retrieved from https://www.pcmag.com/article/342537/the-best-virtual-reality-vr-headsets.

Kim, M. (2015). The Good and the Bad of Escaping to Virtual Reality. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/the-good-and-the-bad-of-escaping-to-virtual-reality/385134/.

Statista (2018). Number of Active Virtual Reality Users Worldwide from 2014 to 2018 (in millions). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/426469/active-virtual-reality-users-worldwide/.

Stein, J. (2015). Why virtual reality is about to change the world. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3987022/why-virtual-reality-is-about-to-change-the-world/.