A year of shared virtual reality

2018 has been a strange year, at least from my perspective. Our Future Reality Lab at NYU has been doing spectacular work. Showing our shared virtual reality immersive cinema experience CAVE to about 2000 people at the SIGGRAPH 2018 conference in Vancouver was a real delight.

The positive cultural ripples from that event continue to radiate outward. This may be the beginning of a new medium for shared experiences on a mass scale. If so, this medium will likely evolve its own visual language, just as the visual language for cinema itself evolved away from that of live theater. It will be fun to be there for that. :-)

In contrast, the national and world stage this last year has been dominated by a different kind of shared virtual reality, one dominated by some sort of unhinged performance artist. Reading about you-know-who in the news has felt like watching late career Andy Kaufman staging a performance of Ubu Roi while in full Tony Clifton mode.

Maybe this is the year that virtual reality, in all its varieties, has finally overtaken the real thing.

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