Tag Archives | Virtual Reality

Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation


Eliott Edge Ethical Technology IEET:

What if our universe is something like a computer simulation, or a virtual reality, or a video game?  The proposition that the universe is actually a computer simulation was furthered in a big way during the 1970s, when John Conway famously proved that if you take a binary system, and subject that system to only a few rules (in the case of Conway’s experiment, four); then that system creates something rather peculiar.

What Conway’s rules produced were emergent complexities so sophisticated that they seemed to resemble the behaviors of life itself. He named his demonstration The Game of Life, and it helped lay the foundation for the Simulation Argument, its counterpart the Simulation Hypothesis, and Digital Mechanics.  These fields have gone on to create a massive multi-decade long discourse in science, philosophy, and popular culture around the idea that it actually makes logical, mathematical sense that our universe is indeed a computer simulation. 

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Remember Second Life? It has a higher GDP than some countries

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.35.19 PM

Second Life used to be a big deal… and apparently it still is.

Martin Bryant via The Next Web:

That said, the 12-year-old service is still going strong with 900,000 monthly active users, not much lower than its peak userbase of 1.1 million several years ago. Now it could be set to make a comeback thanks to virtual reality.

At the Web Summit in Dublin this week, I met Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Second Life creator Linden Lab. He talked about:

  • The thriving economy that still exists in Second Life, with some users making a living from creating accessories. Altberg says that it has a GDP of around $500 million, and users cashed out a total in excess of $60 million last year. One user has sold around 300,000 virtual dresses at roughly $4 each.
  • Project Sansar, Linden Lab’s ‘WordPress for virtual reality,’ which is due to launch next year.
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Virtual Reality is the Future of Religion

Dali_Crucifixion_hypercubeRev. Dr. Christopher Benek via H+mag:

25 years ago most people didn’t imagine that the Internet would reshape the way that they existed on a day-to-day basis. 25 years from now people will think about Virtual Reality the same way we think about the Internet today – we won’t even be able to imagine our global existence without it.

One of the largest beneficiaries of this technological development could be the global church because VR is going to change the way that Christians participate in worship.

The main impact that VR is going to have on the global church is that it is going to, one-day, enable Christians to easily gather from a variety of places without being in the same physical location.   This will enable persons who are homebound, sick, caregivers, without transportation, on vacation, or severely disabled to participate in worship with the larger community of faith without needing to leave the place where they are physically residing.

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‘VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new’

Are you excited about Virtual Reality, which is finally available to consumers? Not as excited as John Riccitiello, I’ll wager, who says “VR is going to yield this staggering orgasm of the new,” per Gamesindustry.biz:

Unity CEO John Riccitiello on the company’s role in building a market for VR software, and why he’s no fan of the “sour grapes” offered by the cynics.

Ggn John Riccitiello ea core ips.jpg

John Riccitiello (CC)


The entire market for game engines has started to look an awful lot like Unity Technologies. Companies like Epic and Crytek have pushed for more diverse platforms, more open pricing models, and more accessibility for smaller teams, but always two steps behind the pace-setter, behind Unity. Indeed, one gets the feeling that every major player in the market would rattle on about “democratising game development” if David Helgason, Joachim Ante and Nicholas Francis hadn’t adopted it as their mantra a decade ago.

However, Unity’s own trajectory shouldn’t be ignored, either.

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Surfing the Liminal Aether with Bruce Damer Ph.D


Bruce Damer with Terence McKenna in 1999.

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Bruce Damer is a multi-disciplinary scientist and a (proud) woo-drenched renaissance man. He researches evolutionary biology, especially focusing on the murky questions surrounding the origin of life. Damer also designs asteroid-wrangling spacecrafts and is an expert in computer science who has spent decades researching emergent, lifelike virtual systems.


Why is it that we’re always searching for someone to tell us answers? We have an obsession with experts, scientists, teachers — gurus of all sorts. As long as I can remember, I’ve been under the impression that learning and knowledge come from some sort of external source, but what if that’s entirely backward? 

What if all of the answers are right there inside of you, somewhere within your own deepest murk just waiting to be discovered? Perhaps great men are simply skilled facilitators of knowledge and learning, while the actual evolving and growth is wholly incumbent upon the individual.Read the rest

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Talk With The Dead Using New Virtual-Reality Software

elysiumBlack Mirror fans, doesn’t Project Elysium, VR software enabling you to talk with the dead, remind you of “Be Right Back,” the first episode of the second season in which a young widow signs up for a new online service that lets people stay in touch with the deceased? Needless to say, the outcome was quite bizarre; what’s the prognosis for Project Elysium then? MarketWatch reports on this real world software:

Communing with deceased loved ones usually involves a visit to the graveyard. Project Elysium, by Paranormal Games, is attempting to turn the experience into a 3D virtual-reality simulation.

Paranormal Games is the brainchild of Steve Koutsouliotas and Nick Stavrou. Before Project Elysium, they released titles such as “Flappy Ears” (in which a player takes the role of big-eared Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and dodges spiky pillars, using only the flapping power of his ears), and Dead Kitty Racket (in which you … yes, hit dead kittens with a racket).

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Being and Nothingness: Virtual Reality and the Pioneers of Cyberspace

John Perry Barlow via Medium:

Facebook buys Oculus for $2 billion, identifying virtual reality as the operating system of the future. Hollywood begins making movies in VR. Google creates VR “Spotlight Stories” that make Android phones into VR devices. A sub-branch of VR, “augmented reality,” overlays a virtual world over our real one. (Did I say “real”? That’s a relative term now.)

In short, we are smack in the middle of a virtual reality boom. But it’s not the first time. In the early 1990s, experimenters and entrepreneurs were immersing lucky test-users in fantastic (and sometimes nauseating) artificial worlds. The equipment was funkier, the resolution was spottier, and the money wasn’t nearly as big — but writers and pundits at that time were expounding on the same themes that captivate us about virtual reality in 2015.

No document in that period captured the virtual zeitgeist as well as John Perry Barlow’s 1990 “Being in Nothingness.” Barlow, who had been a Wyoming rancher and a lyricist for Grateful Dead, had only recently turned his prodigious attentions to technology (he would wind up co-founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation).

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Project Elysium: VR to revive deceased loved ones

A development screenshot from Project Elysium.

A development screenshot from Project Elysium. Paranormal Games.

Mark Walton via Ars Technica:

How far is too far when it comes to pushing the boundaries of virtual reality? As VR devices grow ever more sophisticated—and the tools to create software for them ever more accessible—where do we draw the line between what’s ethically acceptable in the real world and what’s ethically acceptable in the virtual world?

One of the developers putting this question to the test is Australia-based Paranormal Games. Project Elysium, its entry into the upcoming Oculus VR Jam 2015, treads some shaky moral ground by promising to create a “personalized afterlife experience,” reuniting people with loved ones who have passed on. Exactly how the developer hopes to do this isn’t clear at this point (it will be required to showcase screenshots by April 27, followed by video footage the week after to be eligible for the jam’s grand prize), although a screenshot from Project Elysium’s development does show a friend of the studio being transformed into a 3D model.

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Open Source Virtual Reality

Razer's OSVR

Razer’s OSVR

I was just surfing the electronic category of VoucherBin. I could see the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now in full swing and already there are some weird and wonderful gadgets being presented.

One of the most impressive and exciting pieces of news comes from the tech development company “Razer,” which has been demonstrating that after decades of hard work, the technology may finally be good enough for a commercially released Virtual Reality system. The product entitled “OSVR” which stands for “open source virtual reality”. What is exciting about this is that Razer has made it very open to users. Because various markets that would otherwise be heavily invested in this technology have not gotten around to creating products that could be used with virtual reality, Razer have instead made it very easy for people to utilise its technology.

Razer have truly made their product “open source” by making all of the schematics available for viewing online, which is a bold move for a smaller company.… Read the rest

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Google Announces Launch of SnuggleNet [Satire]

By James Curcio

As luck would have it, Google had just launched SnuggleNet, billing it as “an iPhone you could snuggle.” And you were getting no kind of affection from virtual friendships. It seemed a worthwhile purchase.

SnuggleNet is a peripheral, already connected to all the social networks you’ve been a part of since you were a child. “It knows what you need and when you need it,” the advertisements said.

After a difficult day of work, it will wrap you in a warm embrace and say, “hey, you need to watch some Venture Brothers. And fuck that, you know, thing that piece of shit @heretic357 was saying about you on Twitter—”

You will quickly discover SnuggleNet is kind of a notorious shit mouth.

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