Where is virtual reality headed?
Nail: "There’s going to be a whole new channel of media distribution and consumption that’s in a wholly virtual world. So, imagine instead of buying nosebleed seats [to a sports game], you have just as good virtual seats that feel like you’re sitting next to the coach on the courtside bench. In a five-year timeline, movies, TV, and a whole subset of other content that will be completely virtual. Many social networks are going to be virtual.
"But then, where I think it really starts to be powerful and useful and valuable is augmented reality. We'll be able to create a virtual world on top of the real one, such that it will be impossible -- within 10 years -- to discern what is real and what is not real. [This] can really get sort of freaky and scary because there’s a whole philosophical construct called the simulation hypothesis, which suggests if you can develop a technology that mimics reality as we know it, how do you know that this is not just a virtual reality that we’re living in? If I can go visit Milan virtually, and it feels just as good as actually going there physically, I might consider doing that instead of jumping on a plane."
Will we fall in love with our tech, like in the movies Her and Ex Machina?
Nail: "I think the best movie that points to this is Robot & Frank. It’s one of my favorite movies. With [Japanese robot Pepper] we have a personal companion robot today. Technology interacting with us emotionally -- there’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I think it’s very natural. It does mean there’s a case for possible manipulation that’s a little bit unnerving, but there’s also bigger cases for people who have cognitive impairments, or are autistic. Technology is going to be a major emotional bridge in their lives.
"In five to 10 years, we’re going to have more and more real personal connection with these technologies. But I’m very, very bullish about falling in love with a robot. I’m a little bit creeped out with sex robots and how that is progressing, but even there, sexual health is an important part of our happiness and day-to-day life and there’s a whole demographic of people who don’t have access to sexual satisfaction, so robots are definitely going to play a role there -- and maybe that’s a very good thing?"
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He, too, is a little bit creeped out by sex robots and how that is progressing.