VR and the elephant

I was having some great conversations this evening with people who are passionate about virtual reality and its possibilities. But I noticed that everybody has a different idea of what those possibilities are.

Some of the conversations were amazing, but other conversations were slightly surreal, as people spoke past each other, coming from very different ideas of what they want.

I was reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each blind man, trying to understand the elephant, feels a different part of its body.

The blind man touching its sturdy leg says “The elephant is like a tree.” The blind man touching its massive side says “The elephant is like a wall.” The man touching its floppy ears says “The elephant is like a flower.” Whereas the man touching its trunk says “The elephant is like a snake!”

Of course they were all right, and they were all wrong. VR is indeed everything its defenders or detractors claim it to be. And it is also something else entirely.

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