April 06, 2016
abundance of recent press coverage featuring global
thought-leaders extolling the virtues of
virtual reality (VR)
technology, it's easy to get caught up in
a utopian view of a society filled with VR tech.
are asking the tough questions, like whether VR
technology could have wide ranging harmful
psychosocial impacts throughout people's lives, even
for their spirituality.
At least one person is asking these questions however.
Dr Mark E. Koltko-Rivera
published a paper all the way back in 2005 titled
The Potential Societal Impact of Virtual
In it Dr Koltko-Rivera explores some of
the potential social and psychological impacts that a "seamless VR"
experience could have in the areas of,
"private experience, home and
family, and religion and spirituality" as it increasingly
becomes a part of everyday life over the next 20 years.
He questions why VR technology has not
had the same degree of academic scrutiny as other paradigm shifting
technologies such as genetic engineering and cyborgization, and
explores the potential of VR technology to profoundly alter human
society by changing our "perceptions and interactions".
Finally, Dr Koltko-Rivera calls for
further research into these areas and postulates a series of
approaches and research questions that could be used to get to the
heart of the matter.
Whether or not the research proposed by Dr Koltko-Rivera is
forthcoming, his observations and the resulting questions he poses
could prove useful to anyone interested in
developing their consciousness in
an increasingly virtual world.