Don't Underestimate Virtual Reality

Singularity University's Peter Diamandis discusses one way in which virtual reality — a burgeoning exponential technology — will disrupt unexpected sectors of culture and society.

Don't Underestimate Virtual Reality

Big Think is once again proud to partner with fellow big thinkers Singularity University to share the news about their 2015 Exponential Finance conference, happening June 2nd and 3rd in New York City. The conference will feature Big Think Experts such as Ray Kurzweil, Chance Barnett, and Brad Templeton. 


--

It might shock some of you born after 1995 to learn there was once a time when the Internet wasn't the fulcrum of our social lives. In fact, many voices loudly rejected the idea that online life would become a prevalent social phenomenon. Yet here we are today, a society pretty much chained to an internet connection. How did those poor prognosticators get it so wrong? Why were they so blind? The reasons are myriad, but a succinct summary would be that these folks lacked vision when it came to exponential technology. They saw the Internet as an infertile ground where dorks would dump globs of unsorted data and Star Trek fanfiction. There's no way, they argued, that a media and commerce juggernaut could ever bloom in that soil. 

Well, it did.

The lesson here, and the one conveyed by Singularity University's Peter Diamandis in the video below, is that you can't underestimate exciting new technologies by judging them based on current perceptions. Those who were imaginative enough to foresee the Internet's potential beyond Star Trek fanfiction eventually reaped the benefits. When it comes to exponential technologies like the Internet, social media, and smartphones, you have to keep an open mind and try to perceive outside-the-box modes of disruption.

Take virtual reality, for example. It's obvious Diamandis sees the technology as much more than tools for dorks to act out their Star Trek fanfiction. He imagines, for example, an entire virtual clothing store in which an avatar of the shopper tries on items that then, upon purchase, are constructed via 3D-printing technology and delivered by morning. Diamandis refuses to take virtual reality at face value. Instead, he envisions how emerging technologies could revolutionize industries they're not commonly associated with... sort of like the Internet and shopping for clothes. 

Understanding these kinds of exponential changes in advance is a major advantage for individuals and businesses that want to stay a step (or 100 steps) ahead of their peers. And Singularity University’s 2015 Exponential Finance conference, happening June 2nd and 3rd in New York City, brings together some of the top future-focused entrepreneurs in every field — from finance, to law, to computing, to medicine — to share their discoveries and insights into what’s coming next, and how to turn it to your advantage.

Tickets are going fast. Use the code BIGTHINK500 to lock in your seats now, at a $500 discount.

How tiny bioelectronic implants may someday replace pharmaceutical drugs

Scientists are using bioelectronic medicine to treat inflammatory diseases, an approach that capitalizes on the ancient "hardwiring" of the nervous system.

Left: The vagus nerve, the body's longest cranial nerve. Right: Vagus nerve stimulation implant by SetPoint Medical.

Credit: Adobe Stock / SetPoint Medical
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Bioelectronic medicine is an emerging field that focuses on manipulating the nervous system to treat diseases.
  • Clinical studies show that using electronic devices to stimulate the vagus nerve is effective at treating inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Although it's not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, vagus nerve stimulation may also prove effective at treating other diseases like cancer, diabetes and depression.
Keep reading Show less

U.S. Navy controls inventions that claim to change "fabric of reality"

Inventions with revolutionary potential made by a mysterious aerospace engineer for the U.S. Navy come to light.

U.S. Navy ships

Credit: Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • U.S. Navy holds patents for enigmatic inventions by aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais.
  • Pais came up with technology that can "engineer" reality, devising an ultrafast craft, a fusion reactor, and more.
  • While mostly theoretical at this point, the inventions could transform energy, space, and military sectors.
Keep reading Show less

Is it time to decriminalize prostitution? Two New York bills answer yes in unique ways

One bill hopes to repeal the crime of selling sex and expand social services; the other would legalize the entire sex trade.

Credit: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Today in the majority of the United States, it is a crime to sell sex, buy it, or promote its sale.
  • The Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act would decriminalize prostitution in New York state while maintaining punitive measures against buyers and pimps.
  • Opponents suggest this law would only push the illegal sex trade further underground and seek full decriminalization for everyone involved.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Physicist creates AI algorithm that may prove reality is a simulation

    A physicist creates an AI algorithm that predicts natural events and may prove the simulation hypothesis.

    Pixellated head simulation.

    Credit: Adobe Stock
    Surprising Science
    • Princeton physicist Hong Qin creates an AI algorithm that can predict planetary orbits.
    • The scientist partially based his work on the hypothesis which believes reality is a simulation.
    • The algorithm is being adapted to predict behavior of plasma and can be used on other natural phenomena.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast