Social Implications Of Virtual Reality

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Media Portrayal of Virtual Reality



Most movies portray VR in a very harsh light. The often show it as a means of control over populations, a potential danger to its users, or an addiction that consumes the users. Some examples of this portrayal can be seen below:

The Lawnmower Man (1992)

The Lawnmower Man follows the story of a scientist who attempts to use virtual reality to improve the intelligence of subjects. He uses the technology on Jobe, a mentally handicapped man who mows his lawn, and is able to increase his intelligence to genius levels. Eventually Jobe develops telepathic and telekinetic powers, and after interference from the government, becomes violent.

While the movie is obviously heavily SciFi, it acts to show the fear that many people have of technology that is not fully understood. The movie also shows potential benefits of VR, with the curing of Jobe's mental handicap.

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is one of the most popular movies that portrays virtual reality. In the movie, aliens enslave the world and suspend the population in a virtual world in order to harvest them for energy. The central theme of the movie is that the virtual world is being used as a means of control. Since people are suspended in the virtual world, they do not realize what is happen in in reality, and thus do not fight back.



Rick and Morty

Virtual environments have appeared a couple of times in this show. The most notable was in S1E4, when aliens tried to use virtual reality to steal sensitive information from Rick in order to make fuel.



Ready Player One

In the book, virtual reality has become an essential part of the world. Most of the population lives in slums, and escape to a virtual reality MMO. Most of the economy has also moved to this virtual world, with the majority of people logging in from their homes and doing their work in virtual offices.

The book portrays the potential of VR, with it allowing for an unmatched inter-contentedness of people. It allowed people around the world to work together liek they were in the same room, even if they were miles apart. Most people would never meet in person, but could be close friends or coworkers in the virtual space. 


Video Games

Assassin's Creed (2007)

The main character uses a sort of virtual reality set to relive events that happened in the past. This allows the main character to discover things that happened to help advance the story.



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