Future entertainment becomes simulated reality

August 18 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Entertainment   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

As the 21st century unfolds, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics will change our lives in many ways. We will enjoy better health, a longer lifespan, and new conveniences. But these developments pale in comparison to simulated reality systems projected for future entertainment.

Psychologists list our most enjoyable recreation activities as: visiting family and friends, watching TV, browsing the Internet, playing video games, making phone calls, shopping, eating out, and catching a flick.

U.S. Census reports 98% of American families own 2.4 TV sets per home and watch 32 hours of TV each week. 75% access the Internet from home, and nearly everyone uses the telephone.

Sales drive this multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. Consumer Electronics Association projects more than 18 million TV sets will be sold this year. New models are larger and thinner; some with fancy features such as live-show pause and smart program selection.

Experts believe future entertainment systems will satisfy much more of our recreational needs. In his web article, “Views of the Future,” British Telecom futurologist Ian Pearson predicts by:

2015 – TV, computer, and phone converge into a wall-size, interactive, 3D screen, delivering entertainment and information tailored to our wishes. When idle, it displays beach, forest, or other scenes so real, we think we are there.

2020 – Nano-size electronics inside “active contact lenses” receives TV, video games, Internet, and phone calls; and displays images directly onto the retina. Tune program with pocket keyboard initially; later with thought control. Watch TV; browse the web, or video-phone a friend; all with eyes open or closed.

2030 – Microscope-size nanobots communicate with the brain creating simulated realities indistinguishable from the real world. Download a program like “Star Trek Holodeck” and dive into the action. Any scene your mind imagines becomes real for you.

Re-live when you first met your mate, or create a reunion with family members. Your imagination becomes reality. Change and end program with voice control.

2040 – Author Raymond Kurzweil believes human and machine intelligence will meld. We can “re-create the world” and enter environments as amazing as in “The Matrix” movie.

Simulated reality describes an environment impossible to tell from “real” reality. But immense computing power is required to create and download these huge programs to your brain.

Will this future happen? Experts say yes. Hewlett-Packard, Nantero, and others are rushing to develop vast memory systems required for simulated reality, and the Allen Brain program promises faster understanding of how technology interacts with neurons.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom poses an even deeper thought. He suggests our world may not be real at all – we could actually be living in a simulation. “Given sufficient technology,” he says, “it is possible to simulate entire inhabited planets, including everyone on them.”

If he is right, I only hope the “creator” of our simulated world has programmed me for great health, long life, and happy adventures. Comments welcome.

Which breakthroughs in this piece would you like to enjoy

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Comment Thread (3 Responses)

  1. You need to read the Otherland books. Also check out this link!

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/11/liveplace-to-launch-photo-realistic-virtual-world-rendered-in-the-cloud/

    Posted by: StuartDobson   August 20, 2008
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  2. StuartDobson, although impressive, virtual worlds like “Liveplace.com” depend on cutting edge 3D display technology to create their reality.

    I think what Kurzweil refers to in this piece is VR assisted by nanobots roaming through our neurons, temporarily disconnecting the normal senses, then tricking our brain into experiencing artificial senses that make the program totally indiscernible from reality.

    Kurzweil calls this “full immersion” VR, which he predicts could be available by 2030 or before.

    And Bostrom’s idea revolves around a super advanced alien species that creates our whole universe as a Matrix-like scenario where nothing is real, but the characters inhabiting the program are unaware that they are just make-believe digital images. It reminds me of the Craig Bierko and Gretchen Mol sci-fi movie, “The Thirteenth Floor” which boasted a simulation, in a simulation, in a simulation – great flick.

    Comments welcome.

    Posted by: futuretalk   August 20, 2008
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  3. futuretalk,

    LivePlace technology does not depend on any nanobots or 3D displays. It is simply server rendered scenes streamed to your normal computer.

    StuartDobson,

    It looks like the video that was made available has little to do with their actual technology. It does not mean it was all a sham though. So we still have to wait to see what they can actually do.

    Posted by: johnfrink   August 21, 2008
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