Can Virtual Reality “Replace” the Real World Experience?

Virtual reality is one of the advanced technological inventions which was introduced a couple of decades back and has assumed a significant position in the field of technology in an extremely brief timeframe. Initially, it was used mainly in the world of computer gaming, but now it has earned its place in various fields such as medicine, engineering, architecture, education, arts, military, and even aviation. Researchers and scientists are trying to explore more in modern technology to get more benefits.

What is “Virtual Reality” (VR)?

The term Virtual Reality(VR) refers to an artificial environment created with modern technology and software providing a three-dimensional experience or real-world simulation to the user through 3D computer-based graphics. The computer controls unique gloves, earphones, and goggles, which are mostly being used in the virtual reality system. In this way, three of the five human senses are being used. These devices allow the user to have illusory experiences of seeing, hearing, or feeling/touching the virtual objects as if they were physically present. It has given a new sensation to the modern computerized world.

Significance of Virtual Reality in the Modern World:

Virtual reality was immediately accepted in the gaming world and now, through its immense importance and benefits, it has made its way in almost every field and industry. It enables a person to visit or experience any place or environment where it might be practically impossible to go in person. For example, visiting the outer space, planets, deep sea, sky, inside of a human body, and almost everywhere one can think of. It is one of the amazing inventions of science and we can predict its importance in the future world.

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Can Virtual World ‘Replace’ The Real Experience?

The virtual world is very close to this present reality yet it is incapable to “substitute” the feelings of the real world. For example, in medical and surgical fields, doctors might be able to perform “virtual surgeries” through simulation labs and VR equipment but he won’t be able to get real-life experience. These feelings can only be created if that doctor or medical student performs an actual surgery. There is a difference between robotic simulator equipment and a real human being. Thus, when the doctor gets into real surgery, he faces confusion while experiencing the new sensation. Another example, in military training, the soldier knows that he won’t be able to feel the pain if the bullet hits him. The real feelings will only be felt while being in a real-life war where he needs to use all his instincts to prevent the damage. Similarly, pilots who have been training through flight simulation for many years, yet they are found to make mistakes during the real plane flight. Another factor which might be a limitation is the high cost of this equipment. These latest technologies are definitely high-priced, even the mediocre VR gadgets can cost a lot more than expected.

The virtual world has its own limitations. Although these problems and limitations are temporary, they have raised doubts about the effectiveness of virtual reality being permanently infused in our lives. Many psychologists have raised questions on the use of Virtual Reality as they believe it might not be as good for the children, whose minds are still growing and evolving. Virtual reality might be a blessing for a few but it might become a potential toxic addiction for the rest. Many psychiatrists have the belief that long term use of a virtual world can make people totally dependent on virtual reality and start avoiding real-world problems instead of resolving them. Yet the future is still unpredictable!

Samreen Khan

Writer and Blogger

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