The Dark Side of Virtual Reality

By Jiun Ting Yong

VR is a huge dollar of industry despite it being a new one; and experts said it will grow by leaps and bounds. A lot of research showed VR is one of the fastest growing industries.

People love VR because of its immersive experience. It allows people to enter a virtual space, tapping into the human’s imaginative side. With this type of technology, it gives the power of bending reality like the science fiction movie based on the cyberpunk theme, The Matrix.

In the climax of the Matrix, once you enter into the world of Matrix, you can bend the reality or defy the law of physics like the character Neo. It is addictive — especially for the gamers who love the taste of being the kingmaker because humans love the power of control and manipulation!

Henceforth, some gamers went to an even further extreme, just like the latest science fiction by Steven Spielberg, ‘Ready Player One’, these gamers would rather stay in the virtual reality world rather than the physical world or the real world. With the rise of VR games like the Diablo, Star Trek, Rec Room and other games that you possibly came across in the ‘Top 10 best VR Games’ on the iOS, MacOs, Windows and Android. This could be a big problem.

The real reason why people are stuck in their bedroom with their VR games is because of depression — causing people to hideaway in their VR.  This kind of phenomenon was known as a recluse or in Japanese term known as ‘Hikkimori’ where young adults took years to leave their room. This is because Japanese society was, and continues to be a stressful society.

Amazingly, the Japanese VR startup used VR to solve the problem of Hikkimori by using VR for people who are reclused as a way for them to attend school by using VR! That’s the irony of the technology. Furthermore, we have to admit one thing about VR games. It will be the utopian world that resonates in the United Nations Charter and human rights non-profit organization — which they have always advocated free from criminal activities, rights to citizenships, make poverty history, no AIDS and eradicating wars, people sharing similar opportunities, no racism, no human bias, and earn a decent income that will make you rich like Swiss and Swedish nationals.

Now we realised that being stuck in your room playing VR games isn’t that bad after all because the utopian world really resonates with what humans beings have always dreamt of for centuries. This is because in the virtual world, you can’t inflict pain like the real world can.  However, bear in mind that VR games can only blur the lines between the virtual world and the real world. You need an avatar, not your real self walk into the virtual world.  This can only cause both worlds to collide just like what physicists have predicted.  This concept is applicable to people who realise the merging of the real world and the virtual world. These kinds of people would act and dress like their favourite characters!

However, according to a psychologist, Silcox, VR games aren’t that bad or being a lack of benefits because, in reality, people still can keep in touch with their virtual world and characters if they are given the right tools. According to Silcox, this kind of psychology, known as the status quo bias, means people won’t get used to the new status quo, ultimately jumping to an irrational judgement.  It is normal for parents to scream at their kids because they waste their time playing their favourite VR games.

Moreover, Silcox believed that the power of imagination can help in their psychologically and behaviour development among teens and young adults. Don’t forget since the dawn of man, our forefathers loved to imagine things that managed to create fantastic epics, poems and novels even the science fiction that earned George Lucas a billion dollars.  Don’t forget the famous science fiction horror Aliens trilogy — which was the imagination of the director and surreal artist.

The most famous utopian society that managed to survive through time because these like-minded people read the books and works of the enlightenment thinkers, the Founding Fathers of the new republic.  USA was a real utopian under experiment….. based on the principles of liberties and human rights at the time of George Washington with his signing of  The Declaration of Independence and it did work. So the utopian society that the VR games provide, it might be the correct tools for us to achieve the equality and equity that the post – World War II have been trying to do for the decades.

This is only the beginning.

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