Virtual Reality Travel is possible, but the problem is that Virtual Reality “has not been invented yet”. Well, if you use the present-day rectangular boxes to represent the word ‘VR’, you’re thinking it the wrong way. The present of VR is nothing more than 60s when it came to computers. We’ve came a long way with computers, and we have a long way to go with Virtual Reality.
Settling your travel hobby without having to leave home would be really amazing, especially for those like me. Virtual Reality can actually make it possible in the next few decades. Currently, BRINK TRAVELER, WANDER, and other Oculus apps are showing us a slight glimpse of VR travel. But when you say “Futuristic VR Travel”, it’s more than that.
The timeline of our advancements in the field of Virtual Reality would be an interesting one to see. Not only from a technological, but also from a social points of view. There would be an obvious shift of the human nature.
The Concept of Virtual Reality Travel
The concept of Virtual Reality, on its own, is not enough to replace physical travel.
Replacing the actual flavor of traveling is a great challenge because it would be like replacing the actual experience of swimming, tasting a real chicken, seeing the sky and the stars, touching a flower or a bird, smelling an exotic odor, seeing the sun set and rise, etc. The list can go on and on if you really want to elaborate it.
To replace these experiences in our mind would not happen soon. We can’t replace boredom with VR. For example, if you are shopping for one day in VR world for all your daily needs; after that 1 day experience, will you get bored and tired of doing it again, or how will it work, exactly?
Will Virtual Reality Travel just enrich our travel experience; not replacing it as a whole?
Here’s where AI comes into play:
AI will mimic the human mind in such a way to feel like we are in the actual world. The AI will be programmed to experience everything we do perfectly with its own AI “live” brain. This is a very promising concept for travel because you will see things you’ve never seen before and with no limit on what you can do and see. AI is a great way to take our travel experience to a higher level, definitely making it more fun and more useful at the same time.
When you make use of Computer Vision Technology in your VR Travel Experience, you have tapped into that world’s potential. Now, instead of seeing what’s in your stomach or the subway full of people, the computer vision technology takes it out of the calculations and empowers them to make your experience complete.
The main application of AI in this field would be this one: understanding our emotions, behaviors, touch, and taste. Neural implant technology would be necessary to have a true AI-brain. Musk and the team are just one of those trying.
The Virtual Reality, on its own, is not enough to replace physical travel. We would want to build something on top of it; we want to create the Virtual World that has all the things I mentioned above: it will have human entities (including AI), buildings, and even food; it will smell good and look real; you can feel good there, but you don’t really need food or water – you will be able to stay as long as you wish.
Instructions for a Virtualization –
I. The first thing that you need is a suitable environment for the VR Travel. This means that you must have all the things needed to find your own comfort, enough space, and suitable hardware to run Virtual Reality hardware.
II. Next is the software needed for Virtual Reality travel. This mainly includes the headgear, motion controllers and HMDs (head mounted displays).
III. The most important part is the content for the Virtual World. This includes everything from the buildings, nature, culture and even people having a conversation.
IV. You also need some special hardware that will make your experience worthwhile such as food and water items to keep you alive and fit as if you were in a different reality.
V. Ability to connect with other humans in virtual reality. It could be possible via the use of voice recognition and emotion AI simulation. The humans do not necessarily need to belong to the real world.
Who says that our universe is limited to what we see?
With Virtual Reality travel, you can explore the parts of the world never explored before. But it’s not going to be limited to just that. You could also be able to simulate and explore the unexplored universe, or even a universe that does not exist at all. You could travel to a world where “White Mouse” is where the President lives. Or you could be in a world where “White House” is just an ordinary house that is white.
The possibilities with VR travel are endless because you have the power of imagination at your fingertips.
The world will not have any borders, no requirements of passport to travel to other countries, and no problems of traffic. This will not be limited to any particular place, geographical location or environment. You could find yourself literally anywhere in the whole world of imagination, even if you are just sitting in your living room.
If we can do this and build a virtual world, then we would have achieved our purpose of living – “to create”.
The challenges with VR Travel
Now that we have talked about the concept of Virtual Reality, the future of traveling, and how we would be able to do it with the help of AI, there are some questions that need to be answered.
Firstly, there is a major problem with computer vision technology when it comes to understanding humans. We will not build a world where AIs live along side humans and experience things as humans do.
AI, for now, can only understand things objectively like a computer does. It does not understand the “touch”, “smell”, or “taste” that we experience in reality. It’s just one of those chips in our brain that makes everything work together and understand what we experience in real life situations.
Also, if we build a world where everyone lives in, then there is going to be a problem with food and water. A lot of researches are taking place right now on how to maintain our bodies as we keep living in that virtual world.
But still, we can make an estimate how far our technology is going to progress in the next few decades. Meta is aiming to turn the world towards the ‘Augmented’ side of Reality. AI is going to play a big part here, just like with any futuristic technology we ever talk about. And AI is developing at a rapid speed. From DALL-E 2, which can image-down your imaginations, to synthesia, which can simulate a human being with voice and appearance.
Recommended Read: 5 Tips to Travel with Voice Assistant
Take our evolution from 1960s-70s computers to the present-day smartphones and PCs. It’s a ton of evolution, ain’t it? So, who says we’re going to limit ourselves with rectangular-shaped boxes when it comes to Virtual Reality?
In a nutshell, the road to VR Travel won’t be short, especially if ‘short’ means a few years for you. But, who said the road to revolution is always short? That’s what our parents and grandparents taught, right?
When we start thinking about the future and getting ourselves ready for VR Travel, we must be careful with ‘how’ technology is developing. ‘If’ is not a question here.