Society · Technology

Our Planned Virtual Reality Dystopia

I just finished listening to a long interview with John Carmack of Doom and Quake fame, now a Virtual Reality guru at Meta/Facebook. If you have five hours to spare are interested in his thoughts on where technology is moving, with a particular focus on Virtual Reality, you can listen to it here:

The most interesting aspect of this interview was Carmack’s position on the future of Virtual Reality. For a while memes have been floating around about the elites wanting the goyim to live in pods, tied to a VR headset. The WEF even published an interview with some Israeli philosopher who suggested that the elites should keep the plebs busy with drugs and video games. As it is often the case, there is not much exaggeration.

John Carmack states that Virtual Reality can be a “great escape” from reality. He concretely mentions the case of people whose real life sucks. Of course, fixing real problems, as opposed to promoting mass immigration, paraphiliae, or the deadly vaxx is hard work, so politicians are not inclined to do it. In Carmack’s world, your life may suck beyond belief but if your VR headset allows you to partake in a virtual life that is far better than your real one, then everything is fine.

Another aspect of the discussion regarding the utility of VR was that it, according to Carmack, has little appeal for rich people. He believes that this is because they seem to quite enjoy living in the real world, as their access to the levers of power, and a fat bank account, facilitate a lifestyle that is quite pleasant. In all seriousness, how great is living in a virtual palace if you live in a real-life palazzo, and what is the appeal of jerking off to a whore in VR if prime-caliber escorts are just a phone call away?

I used to dismiss claims about the elites wanting to hook us up to VR and sedate us as hyperbole. Now I am not so sure anymore. Meta is arguably the biggest player in the nascent VR field, and the guy who has been leading their VR development efforts for years is telling us that this is exactly what they want to do, and he frames it as a distinctly noble goal. Well, the sedation of the nation is in full swing already anyway. People have been dying en masse as a consequence of their fentanyl addition, and the use of anti-depressants is at an all-time high as well. A brave new world is just around the corner.

4 thoughts on “Our Planned Virtual Reality Dystopia

  1. I was never really sure how exactly this whole VR thing was going to gain mainstream acceptance, being that the ergonomics of the headsets haven’t really improved since the Virtual Boy.

    But Carmack laid it out for me – virtual meetings. And who would think virtual meetings would be a great idea? Female middle managers. This is how VR headsets will make the leap from gratuitous luxury item to household essential.

    1. Women love using filters on Tinder or even change their appearance on Zoom by putting on “virtual make-up”. I have a colleague in her mid-40s whom I did not recognize when I first saw her in real life because what she looks like on Zoom has nothing to do with reality. In a virtual meeting, women will presumably be able to create an entire avatar, so why be slim in real life when you can just move a slider in a menu?

    2. Like that Bruce Willis movie Surrogates, where everyone used attractive robotic avatars in the outside world while they lived as unkept shut ins.

  2. There’s another aspect to this that’s rarely getting talked about: The paradigm of simulationism. You might already know about it, e.g. if you’ve seen or even just heard about the “Matrix” movies. That the entire world is an illusion (possibly created by an evil demiurge deity) and that the real world is out there and that you can escape out of the illusion of reality into actual reality, if you are part of the select few and possess special hidden knowledge and hidden abilities. (I.e. the very definition of gnosticism).
    The concept of isolationism itself is self-refuting and thus incoherent as far as our real world is concerned. But constructing a parallel virtual world for people to live in is actually the very realization of that concept.
    As weak as the majority of humans are there is no doubt that a substantial part of the world’s population (at least in the Western countries) would choose such an existence, plugged into the coom pod within their smart city as a way out of their miserable life in reality.

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