The human race is fascinated with its evolution. We dig out ancient skeletal bones buried in the ground, give our ancestors names such as Homo Erectus or Homo Habilis and construct the DNA genome from a Neanderthal toe bone in order to understand how we differ from them. We do all this to understand how we were, how we are, and perhaps most importantly, how we will be. However, although biology certainly plays a significant part in giving us a glimpse into our evolutionary future, I believe our future can also, and perhaps increasingly so, be seen in science fiction.
I watched “Her” a few days back. The movie portrays the love between the lonely, introverted Theodore Twombly and Samantha, a movie premise that does not sound very special. However, Samantha is the operating system (OS) of Theodore’s electronic devices. She only exists in the form of a camera and an incredibly sexy voice spoken in by Scarlett Johansson. She has her own personality and knows Theodore very well, since she has access to all his devices. Throughout the movie, Theodore and Samantha become a couple. The movie, which I can recommend to everyone, beautifully explores how virtual reality could affect love. Is it pathetic to fall in love with something programmed? What if that something has all the emotions of a human and can learn as well as any human? Is it possible for something to become someone? I believe the thought is not too far-fetched. In recent years, movies and books with the theme of virtual reality have become increasingly popular (I kindly refer you to my short story). These movies and books inspire and influence entrepreneurs who, accordingly, create products based on those influences. This way, the more that is written on a certain future, the more it will become true.
Full immersion into a virtual reality is becoming closer and closer. Facebook recently acquired Oculus Rift, a company that was developing a display to cover your eyes and fully immerse you into a gaming experience. Facebook believes the Oculus Rift has incredible potential as a future social platform. And who knows, perhaps one day, we will be able to create our own avatar and interact with people from all over the world in a virtual reality, as if it were real life. This, of course, will create new problems that seem frightening. Yet the movement towards virtual reality is inevitable. The distinction between real and virtual will disintegrate, the line between DNA and code will blur. Exploring new worlds will not be done through space, but through human imagination and creativity. The Earth might collapse in hundreds of years, but by then, our physical body might well have disintegrated, and a human might consist of a personalised stream of data.