Disrupting reality

Most television viewers don't realize just how much of what they watch contains a lot of visual FX, or “virtual reality” if you will. Check out this reel from Stargate Studios.

Sometimes, the only thing that's “real” is the main actor. Increased computing power and advances in visual effects software and techniques mean we're only going to see more and more productions turn to the trusty green screen. More and more, the cost of shooting against a green screen and drawing in a background is lower than shooting on location. That's a sea change that has happened more quickly than most viewers realize.

It's not a short step, but perhaps not more than a few vigorous hops and a few cranks of Moore's Law to imagine the same convenience tradeoff happening in our own lives, the swap of physical reality for virtual reality. As long as the quality is good enough, the lower cost/higher convenience solution wins out. For virtual reality, that bar is not to match reality exactly. It is simply belief.

We're finally at the point in history when we have an alternative to the shadow costs of the real world.

Reality is bloated.
It started off as a lean, mean MVP with a minimal feature set — hunting and gathering, procreating, a little story-telling around the fire, fighting for dear life — but now every last use case has been crammed in. There are so many layers of cruft on this thing, it’s a wonder we get anything done at all.
This is one of the ultimate drivers of consumer VR — not (just) to provide experiences we couldn’t have otherwise, but to replace many of the crappy physical experiences we slog through every day. Business travel. Middle school. Conferences. You know: pain relievers, not vitamins.
There’s been no choice until now, since we’ve been living in a platform monoculture where the monopoly provider hasn’t had any competition to keep it honest. Thankfully, that’s about to change.

That's Beau Cronin on unbundling reality. It's perhaps one of the greatest disruptions we'll live through this century.