If there is one thing you should learn besides computer and online safety, it’s about VR (virtual reality)
How VR came back ‘from the dead’
‘By the late 1990s, the hype surrounding consumer VR had all but fizzled out. For a time, it seemed as if consumer-level virtual reality would remain primarily the stuff of movies, comic books and TV.
‘It would take decades and a lot of new technology for that to change.
‘Computer processing power, perhaps the chief engine behind believable VR, doubled many times over since the 1990s…’
And that started the renaissance of VR
‘When scientist and futurist Jaron Lanier cooked up the term “virtual reality” in the 1980s, it was little more than a marketing device.
‘“We were in our early 20s,” Lanier, now 53, recalled. “I thought we were doing the most important thing humanity had ever encountered.” The excitement surrounding this new frontier in human interaction and engagement was palpable.
‘“There was reason to believe,” said Harold Rheingold, who wrote 1991 book Virtual Reality, “that any applications that let people interact with computers or simulations would be very big.”
‘Lanier and VPL did spark a revolution. Virtual reality‘s impact is evident in everything from the AMNH exhibit to automobile design (Ford’s Immersive Vehicle Environment is particularly impressive), surgical simulations and CNN’s guesses at what happened to Malaysian Flight MH370…’
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Is Science Fiction the Wrong Model for Imagining the Future?
Robinson Meyer thinks so
‘A lot of people might read that line and think: Wow, cool, Google is trying to make the future!
‘But “science fiction” provides but a tiny porthole onto the vast strangeness of the future. When we imagine a “science fiction”-like future, I think we tend to picture completed worlds, flying cars, the shiny, floating towers of midcentury dreams.
‘We tend, in other words, to imagine future technological systems as readymade, holistic products that people will choose to adopt, rather than as the assembled work of countless different actors, which they’ve always really been. The futurist Scott Smith calls these ‘flat-pack futures,’ and they infect “science fictional” thinking.
‘Science fiction, too, can underestimate the importance and role of social change…’
How Tech is exploding all across the UK
‘London certainly is a heavyweight player. Last year, in Tech City alone, more than 15,000 startups launched, which is more than any other area in the country. From a Twilio perspective, London was a natural fit for our first home outside of San Francisco. A vibrant startup ecosystem, the financial market, talent and flexible business conditions were all contributing factors.
‘But it’s important to highlight that the tech industry has exploded all across the UK, and not just in London. In fact, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research’s recent report told us that there are at least 270,000 digital companies across the country…’