For many people, virtual reality presents a tantalizing prospect: the ability to see and do things not possible in the real world. With each passing year, the technology to create this reality improves, and virtual reality is able to become more and more intractable and life like. With virtual reality, any person can feel like they are flying through the sky or walking with dinosaurs, things they could never truly experience in real life. Although these experiences are amazing, there are other experiences to consider: those we can see in real life. It is these experiences that allow virtual reality to have a real effect on society, instead of just simulating things that do not exist. However, the use of virtual reality for this purpose does raise some questions: how can virtual reality be used to help others, and why use virtual reality to simulate things that can be found in real life? It is these questions that we hope to answer.
Through virtual reality, a lot of new avenues become reality that previously were not. One of these is the simulating self-defense scenarios. Often these scenarios are too dangerous to actually simulate and would be fairly costly when it comes to practicality; but through VR these scenarios can be played out safely and be used to benefit people. For example, some of the groups came up with several combat simulations for VR such as simulating a school shooting, various life threatening scenarios and military combat/training. While these tasks could previously be done without virtual reality the user is more immersed and it takes out the costliness of getting people to do these training exercises, as well as most of the potential risks. This is especially useful in the case of military training, as it takes out the expense of training bullets and other materials. The other major benefit is that through all these possibilities the user would be able to interact with the environment (in this case deadly scenarios) without real world consequences.
Virtual reality also allows people to simulate scenarios concerning their health, which may not be possible to do in real life without the participant ending up harmed or dead. For example, some of the scenarios include the effect of smoking cigarettes on the body, the effect of alcohol on the body while driving, the effect of alcohol on the body based on sex, age, and weight, and the consequences of parents not getting their kids vaccinated. Simulating the effect of alcohol and smoking on the body could show the participant the short term and long term effects, where seeing the effects would have a greater impact on them if they can fast forward in the simulation rather than see it happen to them in the future. Also, learning how much the participant can consume safely based on the sex, weight, age, and height will allow them to drink more safely in real life, where they would not have to suffer the consequences of drinking too much. They can avoid blacking out in real life, falling unconscious at a party, and dying from choking on their vomit while knocked out. A drunk driving simulation can also show how drinking affects vision and reaction time, which would encourage participants to call an Uber or have a designated driver rather than drive themselves when intoxicated. A simulation showing the consequences a child could experience if their parents refuses to vaccinate could make a parent reconsider their decision on not vaccinating their kid, which could reduce child fatalities.
Experiencing new and foreign scenarios have always been important to societies. Its been used to communicate important messages as well as enlighten the people of key issues that plague the world. In recent years, introductions to new perspectives have been used to show the ugly reality of our planet, and to bring up ways to stop it through movies, documentaries, and articles. Virtual Reality could be the next form of media to do such things. With possible simulations of poverty stricken places and third world countries, people in better off areas can better understand the rough conditions a majority of the people go through every day. This would be much more effective than simply reading an article or short documentary, and thus give them more of an obligation to help the cause. The same concept can be applied to any form of problems, such as showing the fatal consequences of mass pollution in our oceans, or experiencing the aftermath of major natural disasters.
All of these ideas could be used alongside virtual reality in order to give people a better understanding through experience. Furthermore, showing new perspectives can help better ourselves, as virtual reality could transport you to a foreign country where you can interact with locals using a variety of languages and customs, allowing the learning of new languages and cultures to become more natural and more interactive. All of these new experiences and perspectives that virtual reality can give to use allows for much better learning as well as the understanding of topics, whether from certain issues to just learning a new skill.