VR is finally going mainstream. Those who have been involved in VR saw the early hooks Zuckerberg set with Oculus years ago. Zuckerberg saw the implications with VR early on which is why he just wrote a check immediately when the opportunity was presented to buy Oculus.
Why is Zuckerberg so interested in VR? Data. VR is an immersive experience and users even lose track of where they are. It’s why you see the videos of people running into walls, tv sets, smashing light fixtures or getting hit by ceiling fans, etc. Most headsets still don’t have eye tracking but that’s becoming a more common feature and Zuckerberg wants it.
Even without eye tracking, facebook knows what you are looking at by where your head is aimed. With eye tracking they also get pupil dilation and any microtremors. From head movements you get heart rates. Cameras are being added to capture facial expressions now too ”for richer social interactions”. In the virtual world you can tell where some people are looking and if they are smiling or frowning, etc. All of those responses flow through facebook’s servers and can be monitored and mined to see what Zuckerberg can profit from the most. Knowing what gets people’s attention and holds it is a window into the subconscious that few know how to control. Companies used to pay millions of dollars to evaluate how consumers interacted with ad campaigns. At facebook, users themselves pay for the monitoring equipment now and other companies will pay facebook for targeted access.
It doesn’t sound so insidious yet but remember that facebook indexes you and compares you to other similar people to learn more about you. Facebook also experiments on their users. They expose users to stimuli and measure the response. The thing about VR is the metrics available there are direct lines into the subconscious and reveal personal information about you. Heat maps are generated of what you look at and for how long. Are you looking at crotches, breasts, butts, or children? Is a stray glance real interest (likely) or just a stray glance? Who will you get compared with or declared similar to? Do you deserve to be there? Is there any way to know how you are categorized? Remember that facebook and other social networks routinely get served with warrants to gather up information collected on users. Want those tools and that data available for repressive christian-fascist politicians bent on Handmaid’s Tale style government?
VR is amazing fun and lets you see and experience all sorts of amazing things. People also have trouble differentiating between real and VR experiences as the brain treats VR experiences like they really happened. There are opportunities for revisionist history and training and conditioning. Anyone using Oculus headsets from facebook is putting Zuckerberg in control of your experiences and he’s never been a benign CEO. He understands the power inherent in VR and is building an empire around it now.
Things get very dangerous when one person can control what you see and hear and can measure and categorize your responses.
There are other headsets out there. Anyone curious about VR should look to anything but facebook/Oculus. As an aside, the founder of Oculus is Palmer Lucky - smart geek who is also a rabid trump supporter who used his VR millions to run a meme factory that lied about Hillary Clinton in 2016. When that was exposed, he had to resign from Oculus and now runs a border surveillance company intended to cash in on trump’s border wall. Palmer’s sister is Ginger Gaetz (formerly Lucky). Ginger is now married to Florida representative Matt Gaetz. The family is dirty but it’s zuckerberg calling the shots now. This just shows how innovative technology (Lucky essentially kickstarted VR) can get perverted by unscrupulous people like Zuckerberg.
Apologies for the tome but this stuff matters and people need to be aware.
I have enough problems with regular old reality, so VR is a nonstarter for me.
It is Palmer Luck(e)y BTW. I am as shocked as I am pleased that an American knows about his tRUMPism.
What a well-written post. I love that you captured the essence of the article and used your own experience to tell the story. Kudos for that. I will send your post to my son who will likely poo poo it even though he is a computer geek. He loves his VR as do his relatives and friends. It will not be good if they make them any cheaper... Sigh...
The fun and novel experience gets people hooked so how will anyone other than the ad companies, nasties out to sell data and greedy guts countries who want to program their citizens get through to people who can't for the life of them (literally) wrap their heads around reality, truth and learn how to cope in the world?
Fecesbook already knows the mindset and vulnerabilities of everyone who if still foolish enough to be on there. VR will liberally let them inside your HEAD, FFS. The porn companies must be having a heyday as well. (Please do not elaborate on that last one if you reply)
Thanks for the info. I purchased the VR goggles a few years ago. I had been reading articles that the experience was good for reducing pain. They are so heavy and uncomfortable I never really used them.
I love my Oculus Quest 2. I am getting great exercise and I watch movies and TV shows in 3D. I've toured London and Dublin, where my grandmothers came from, even though I have never been to these places. It's great fun.
Will never have anything to do with that company. My reality is going outside.
Thanks for the heads up. We (company I work for) just bought a bunch of VR headsets and I think they might have been Oculus.