Zuckerberg the Mystic

Here’s a must-read story on Facebook’s plans for VR in general and Oculus specifically. Key takeaway is that Zuckerberg, Luckey, and company envision a future for VR that even they can’t describe:

Talking about the future, even Zuckerberg can get stumped and slide into the mystical. Some of the problems don’t even have names yet. VR, at true fidelity, entails creating another reality, the presence and automation of everything that exists. Then there are the deep problems of connecting to the brain, which leads to telepathy, something he isn’t opposed to discussing. “I think you get—I mean, there’s something that’s just—that’s deeper, that I don’t even think we scientifically understand about just how you actually experience the world,” he says. “I think there’s outside, and there’s different fidelities of capturing that. And then there’s the human experience of it, which I think is—I mean, we don’t even have enough of a scientific understanding to even have—I think I don’t, at least, have the vocabulary to even fully describe this.”

Pictured: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

As a science fiction novelist unencumbered by a great math and science education, I think I can help Zuckerberg out. If I were to project 100 years into the future, I’d bet VR will evolve into a telepathic platform. I’ll be able to imagine a setting, say a tropical island floating in space populated by sentient elephants. An implant in my brain will render this in code as I imagine it. I’ll telepathically send you an invitation to “join” me there, and you’ll be able to visit me in my imagined mindscape. We’ll constantly interact with each others’ imaginations this way, visiting virtual reality environments that we create for each other in our brains that are connected to each other via whatever platform the cloud evolves into.

And it won’t just be people imagining these VR mindscapes. AIs will be able to do it, too, and the difference between the two will narrow to the point of becoming indistinguishable. Whole popular cultures filled with art and entertainment will be created with and consumed by AIs. At some point the human race will become keymasters of various alternate universes of our own design. And even after another thousand years of evolution, we’ll still laugh at funny cat videos.