Visions of the future

As a homework assignment I asked my students to describe their vision for the VR/XR future. I told them to stick with possible realities (so no time travel or matter transducers or transporter beams).

The results were quite varied, and in some cases very thoughtful and original. But what struck me was that the students who described a bright utopian future and the students who warned of a dark dystopia to come were describing very similar things.

The features of these possible futures — virtual travel, direct brain interfaces, ubiquitous AR — were quite similar. Yet some students saw these things as means to new opportunities for creativity and self-expression, whereas others saw them as harbingers of inevitable societal decay.

Maybe all of them are right.

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