Google Funds Creation of Secretive Avatar-Style Virtual Reality
By Paul Joseph Watson
Google is funding a secretive project that will use millions of linked computers to create an Avatar-like virtual reality world in which people could live, interact, and even have sex.
The idea sounds like a rudimentary version of the 1999 science fiction thriller The Thirteenth Floor, in which supercomputers create a simulated reality populated by human characters who don’t know that they are living in an artificially generated world.
Entitled High Fidelity, the project envisions a virtual reality “world extending visibly to vanishing points like our world does today, enabling you to see your house, your neighborhood, distant mountains, and other planets in the sky,” and will rely on “millions of people to contribute their devices and share them to simulate the virtual world.”
Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, the program’s architect, says the idea is to “create a virtual place with the kind of richness and communication and interaction that we find in the real world, and then get us all in there.” Rosedale boldly predicts that within six years High Fidelity will allow people to immerse themselves in virtual landscapes that resemble cutting edge CGI environments seen in movies likeAvatar and Star Trek.
The slogan for the project states, “If it doesn’t hurt to think about it, we’re not going to try it.”
According to a report by Singularity Hub’s Jason Dorrier, the project will utilize a second or third generation version of Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset, in addition to an array of body sensing technology in order to create a tactile environment with virtually instantaneous communication between physical movement and the behavior of the individual’s avatar within the virtual reality world.
“High Fidelity’s other big idea will power the world they live in,” writes Dorrier. “In exchange for virtual money, virtual citizens will assign their computer’s unused processing power—when they’re sleeping, for example—to construct High Fidelity’s world in exquisite detail.” The program could use anything up to a billion linked computers to sculpture and maintain its artificial landscape.
It’s also envisaged that people will have relationships, get married, and even enjoy virtual reality sex in this artificial landscape, mirroring the predictions of futurist Ray Kurzweil, whose 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines features a character called Molly who ditches her husband in favor of an artificially intelligent computer with which she merges and then electronically copulates.
This brings up an interesting moral conundrum – does having sex with someone else’s avatar in virtual reality constitute cheating?
The idea of creating intricate artificially generated environments brings us back to a mind-boggling question that we’ve asked before.
If in 2013 we’re now starting to talk about using computers to create incredibly complex and sophisticated virtual reality worlds in which humans interact with each other, how do we know that our own world is not merely an even more high-tech virtual reality simulation created by our future selves?