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.

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.

Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity

Creativity can bring about unchecked harm, but it's up to us how we wield it.Aeon counter – do not remove

Mind & Brain

Suppose you forgot it was your partner's birthday, but you know that they would appreciate the smallest of gestures, say a bouquet. It's late at night and no florists are open. The cemetery on your way home has recently had a funeral, and you walk across the site and pick up a good-looking bouquet of roses from someone's grave. You then head home, and the flowers are happily received by your partner.

Would you say that you hurt anyone?

Keep reading Show less

Study: Memories of music cannot be lost to Alzheimer's and dementia

The part of your brain responsible for ASMR catalogs music, and appears to be a stronghold against Alzheimer's and dementia.

The parts of the brain highlighted in red and yellow are thought to control your sense of attention and memory. (image c/o Brain Network Lab)
popular

Some music inspires you to move your feet, some inspires you to get out there and change the world. In any case, and to move hurriedly on to the point of this article, it's fair to say that music moves people in special ways. 

Keep reading Show less

In 1999, David Bowie knew the internet would change the world

Musican. Actor. Fashion Icon. Internet Visionary?

Technology & Innovation
  • David Bowie was well known as a rock star, but somehow his other interests and accomplishments remain obscure.
  • In this 1999 interview, he explains why he knows the internet is more than just a tool and why it was destined to change the world.
  • He launched his own internet service provider in 1998, BowieNet. It ceased operations in 2006.
Keep reading Show less