Creative Technologists must carry the heavy burden of how new user experiences and consumer technologies will shape future generations. Clever Tech Digest talks to Elaina Woods of NovaKitten about the potential social influence Virtual Reality can have in our lives.
NovaKitten Productions is an Austin based Virtual Reality and Film production company. Born out of a group of UT Austin Students, NovaKitten works on commercial and gaming VR projects, in addition to an array of other Film Projects. This small start up focuses on developing a fun learning-centric storytelling community and is pioneering immersive mediums and collaborative cross disciplinary projects.
By nature, Virtual Reality isolates users from the physical world around them. How do you this technology build community and bring people closer together?
All technology threatens to isolate us in some ways, but Virtual Reality is somewhat of an extreme example. When you are in the headset, you are essentially alone in the room. However, much like online video games and social media, it can connect us with people from all over the world. But it is even more powerful because we feel that we are in the same room.
The co-founder of NovaKitten and I helped edit a live action short film called Lover (https://vimeo.com/150035198) that explores the concept of virtual reality dating in the near future. I honestly believe VR is a greater step towards bringing people together that may be isolated in real life for whatever reason, and that is something very special.
Paint me two pictures:
1. Your utopian dream for a sensory and physically augmented society.
We have become more than we ever thought we would be. Advancements in sensory augmentation have greatly helped researchers and they are close to solving all of the world’s problems. Divides between groups have disintegrated because technology has brought us all closer together.
More active video games and storytelling keeps us fit and the increased problem solving in stories teaches us to think outside of the box and helps our minds stay younger. Children are taught in a more engaging, hands on way so they are more interested in learning, which in turn helps our progress in the world.
Augmentation has helped with efficiency in our work, so we are less busy and stressed. There are more opportunities for artists and people have migrated from more dangerous or unfulfilling jobs to artistic or scientific fields.
2. Your dystopian nightmare for the mechanically and digitally augmented human race.
The technological divide has become so great, there are now two group of humans: those who are able to afford augmentations that make them stronger and smarter than we could ever be, and those who cannot and will never be able to compete without them. The world is falling apart, but we don’t care because we have our virtual worlds to escape into and forget everything around us.
We are isolated from each other and have a hard time with human interaction, partially because we have no attention span and are addicted to instant gratification. And of course, AI has achieved full consciousness and begins a revolution we cannot fight.