Dawn of the New Everything Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality

2022-02-26 22:23

  • History of VR
    • Ivan Sutherland started the field of computer graphics with his work on SketchPad. In 1965 he proposed a head-mounted display called "the ultimate display"
  • What is VR?
    • Throughout the book Lanier revises a possible definition over and over again.
    • 1: A twenty-first century art form that will weave together the three great twentieth-century arts: cinema, jazz and programming.
      • The promise of VR is producing arbitrary experience - shared between people through conversation. Untethered from the realities of the physical world. This is an idealistic definition
    • 2: A simulated new frontier that can evoke a grandiosity recalling the age of exploration or the wild west
    • 3: Hope for a medium that can convey dreaming
    • 4: The substitution of the interface between a person and the physical environment with an interface to a simulated environment
    • 5: A mirror image of an person's sensory and motor organs, or if you like, an inversion of a person.
      • This definition is so interesting. The hole in a VR world is person shaped - the person who's in the virtual environment. The world wraps around that hole. A revelatory realisation is that when you turn left in a VR headset, the whole virtual world turns right to compensate.
    • 6: An ever growing set of gadgets that work together and match up with human sensory or motor organs. Goggles, gloves, floors that scroll, so you can feel like you're walking far in the virtual world even though you remain in the same physical spot; the list will never end. - The list will never end because virtual reality will never fully 'trick' us into believing it is reality. That's because humans, and how we comprehend reality, is not a fixed point. We will always evolve to better know what is reality and what is not. CGI which looked incredible only 10 years ago now looks dated.
    • 7: A coarser, simulated reality fosters appreciation of the depth of physical reality in comparison. As VR progresses in the future, human perception will be nurtured by it and will learn to find even more depth in physical reality.
    • 8: Technology that rallies the brain to fill in the blanks and cover over the mistakes of a simulator, in order to make a simulated reality seem better than it ought to. - Science is about approach rather than arrival. Two scientific theories can be useful, and produce useful things for humans, but reach a point where they disagree.
    • 9: The investigation of the sensorimotor loop that connects people with their world and the ways it can be tweaked through engineering. The investigation has no end, since people change under investigation. - We do not see like a camera. If we kept still like a camera we wouldn't be able to see. The brain is more like a spy submarine running constant experiments to work out what's in front of us.
    • 10: Reality, from a cognitive point of view, is the brain's expectation of the next moment. In virtual reality, the brain has been persuaded to expect virtual stuff instead of real stuff for a while. - This feels key to that moment when you take the VR headset off and reality seems more vivid for a few moments. Jaron Lanier used to give flowers to people who took the headset off for the first time and they seemed to experience flowers for the first time all over again.
    • 11: VR is the most centrally situated discipline - It connects to science, perception, art, everything...
    • 12: VR is the technology of noticing experience itself
    • 13: The perfect tool for the perfect, perfectly evil Skinner box
  • The great thing about VR is the moment you take it off.
    • VR is a trick. The stereoscopic images make it seem like you're looking at / inhabiting a 3d space. But you're not.
    • I wonder how rudimentarily we can recreate this feeling of 3D space. Also see [[Zeeman's Paradox]]
  • Can you [[See yourself seeing]] in VR?

#book #perception