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The Doomsday Scenarios that VR could Land Us In

If you’ve watched pretty much any mainstream movie in the last ten years, you’ll notice a trend. Apart from deciding that teenagers were the most attractive target audience, doomsday scenarios have become super popular. So many films from Independence Day to The Hunger Games deal with some dystopian future. Now, with the current trajectory the world is taking, everyone seems to think we are about to get our own doomsday. One potential catalyst for this is VR, especially if it reaches its full potential. Here are some doomsday scenarios that VR could help bring about.

Productivity just stops overnight

Image courtesy: UP Blog
Image courtesy: UP Blog

Virtual Reality is the ultimate escapist utopia. No matter how terrible your life is, you can stick your headset on and disappear into a much kinder universe. Sounds super appealing right? The problem comes when you want to try and get people out of these beautiful worlds. After all, why go back to real life when artificial life is so attractive? It’s a problem which already exists with both gamers and some fringe disorders. For now, VR is not at a stage where everyone will be roped in, but already we are developing higher quality headsets that weigh less and cost less. If certain precautions aren’t taken, we might have a scenario where most people never leave for work because they’re stuck in some workless paradise.

No more babies

Image courtesy: UP Blog
Image courtesy: UP Blog

Leading on from the last scenario, VR sex is jumping forward in development. Now, for the time being, it looks like only half of the world’s population would be into that kind of thing. It is also still very expensive and not quite as good as the real thing. For now. Technology only ever gets better if there is a market for it, and there is always a market for sex. Then it doesn’t matter if it only targets men or women. If it’s good enough and cheap enough, it will sell like hot cakes. If we aren’t careful, we’ll be too busy doing it digitally to do it the analogue way. After all, it’s much easier for force a program to love you than to convince a human that it’s worthwhile.

Housing Crash

Image courtesy: Andy Dean Photography
Image courtesy: Andy Dean Photography

Moving away from our extinction by lack of procreation, a more likely reality is the crash of the property market. This has happened before, and VR has the potential to make this even worse by two means. Either we’ll be back at the stage where young people are being sold dream homes they can’t afford, which will repeat the cycle we saw eight years ago. Or, and this is just a plausible, people will stop worrying about what kind of homes they are buying. Even if the paint is peeling and there are rats in the walls, it doesn’t matter when you can dive into your headset. There is also no incentive to move house when you can afford it because your dream home is there in your head. That doesn’t mean homes won’t be built, but demand will shift from making nice houses to small blocks big enough to house a person and their VR device. If that isn’t a nightmare scenario, I don’t know what is.

Real accidents in an artificial world

This might seem not as dangerous are the other scenarios, but it’s already happening. A scourge is crossing the land of whoever has purchased a VR headset. Yes, I’m talking about the banged knee epidemic. Even though the warning to make plenty of space is readily available for just about every VR device, many hapless individuals will suffer from knocking into furniture they can’t see. Even without these hazards, you can very easily hurt yourself if you get too into the game. Look at all these people falling over because of the game they’re playing. This is a doomsday that is already happening around the world, be aware lest it happens to you!

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