Virtual Reality Pioneer Fears About the Future of the Technology
Many would expect that Jaron Lanier, whose work and seemingly endless years of research culminated in what we have now come to know as virtual reality technology, would be beaming with smiles wherever he goes and maybe even enjoying some nice vacation on the beach after making a lengthy and ground-breaking discovery. But contrary to the majority’s expectations, Lanier is in a state of constant worry as to what would become of the virtual reality technology.
VR Pioneer Jaron Lanier Shares Concerns About the Tech’s Future
The uncertainty of what the future holds for virtual reality 30 years after he gifted the world with such an incredible technology continues to worry Lanier, especially now that it is poised to be the next big thing in the market. A lot of major companies all around the world and from various industries are investing in the technology heavily while a lot of high-profile VR-related products are also starting to show up on store shelves. Developers too are working tirelessly to even improve the VR experience countless users are currently enjoying.
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In particular, what worries Lanier the most about virtual reality is the fact that the concept is able to put a lot of power into the hands of bigger companies that are too powerful already. This would drive a great gulf between these big combines and every other small company around in that regard.
“We can’t keep on pretending that this isn’t a gigantic problem. We have more power than we can handle,” Jaron Lanier had said in a phone call.
Google is believed to be developing something dubbed as the “Daydream,” a technology that would allow for standard virtual reality technology to be incorporated into smartphones. Lanier was asked for his opinion on Google’s plan, but he refused to draw a long comment, as he is currently employed by one of Google’s biggest competitors in the technology market, Microsoft. However, he had this to say about the matter: “I’m very much not a neutral person.”
While Jaron Lanier was not interested in shaming the efforts of different companies on the VR concept, he was very open to discussing what dangers the VR concept might pose in the long run with its current rate of development. He said, “This, more than the artificial intelligence stuff, is where we’re going to face the greatest ethical challenge in coming years.”
Lanier’s Major Concerns
The greatest fear that Lanier nurses is the overwhelming amount of user data that would be collected, stored, and sent back to their companies due to the fact that this technology needs to record data of what their users are doing to enable them to render better. This sort of data can then be interpreted to give a lot of confidential information about such users, ranging from the kind of things they might like to what medical conditions they could be suffering from.
Lanier is also concerned because the control of the technology is not evenly spread out but owned by a small network of companies such as Facebook (Oculus), Google (Cardboard) and Samsung’s daydream.
He believes that many of these companies have already collected a lot of user data already and now with VR, the number of data collected will soar.