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Here's how VR could change our social lives

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Virtual reality could change our social lives in a profound way in the future. It has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we interact with our friends and family. The possibilities of VR go well-beyond entertainment and could change human interaction for the better.

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Virtual reality will change our social lives in the future. / © ANDROIDPIT

The future of digital socialization 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his grand VR entrance at MWC this year and this was no accident. Facebook bought Oculus VR in 2015 looking to a future where the social media platform can be integrated with VR.

Facebook is making more moves towards further integration of virtual reality into our social lives. In the coming weeks, Facebook will add 360-degree photos you can view in the Oculus app. You can look at your friends’ photos like you were there, giving you a more immersive experience in your digital social life.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook and Oculus Rift will continue to expand the social functionality provided by VR. And smaller companies are already performing some of these functions and give us a preview of how our social lives could change as a result of VR.

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Mark Zuckerberg speaks at MWC 2016 with a VR entrance. / © ANDROIDPIT

Current VR social platforms

Socializing in the VR space is already getting popular and a few companies are taking advantage of the socializing possibilities it has to offer. AltspaceVR is a platform for you to meet up in a virtual space and interact. You can host a conference, watch a movie together, view an art gallery or even practice a language. All of this while being with avatars of your friends.

There are a few other social media platforms for VR and they are relatively similar. They perform relatively similar functions. They connect you with your contacts in a virtual space where you are able to do interact in ways comparable to Facebook or Instagram – only more intimately.

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With existing VR social platforms you can have immersive social experiences. / © ANDROIDPIT

VR could give us more human interactions

The functions of these new programs preview how our human social interactions will be enhanced. Imagine being able to visit Rome, Antarctica or even Mars with all of your friends and family around the world. You could attend a live conference at Oxford or learn how to rock climb without any danger.

With VR, our interactions could be more realistic – more human. Avatars will continue to improve, and soon, accurate body language reactions like facial expressions might be commonplace. The avatars could reflect our personalities and how strongly our avatars react would more closely reflect how we react in real life.

VR will fundamentally alter the way we interact socially. This is a positive thing, an improvement on our current digital social interactions. After all, seeing and talking to your friend is more social than sending a text message, right?

How do you think VR will change our social lives? Let us know in the comments below.

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Cory Schmidt

Cory Schmidt

A Minnesota native, Cory's background is in writing and editing. He received his BA from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and his MA from the University of Kansas. He joined the Android community in 2009 and is excited to be contributing at AndroidPIT.

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  • 4
    FourQ May 17, 2016 Link to comment

    VR has great potential, there's no denying that. Telepresence can have a huge impact on those overseas, the disabled, those in very rural areas and in schools all over the world, and 3D varieties offer so much more. The problems arise when internet connections aren't quick enough or stable enough to carry the data and expectation that the graphics will be more real than something from an old PlayStation. People who I've introduced VR to have commented that they expected more 'real' graphics.
    I tried installing AltVR on my phones but unfortunately none of my devices are compatible. The only Android devices specified are Samsung. Of the 8 Samsung devices we have in the house, none of them are compatible. I'll continue to use VR but won't hold my breath for AltVR.

    GT OhhDeactivated AccountCory Schmidt

    • Cory Schmidt 19
      Cory Schmidt May 17, 2016 Link to comment

      That's a really great point FourQ, it could give disabled people the opportunity to visit places that might not be easily accessible to them.
      We may have to wait for bigger platforms to come out before there's more widespread usage. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Facebook has something brewing.

      Deactivated Account

  • 21
    Peter Harwood May 17, 2016 Link to comment

    The film total recall comes to mind? We're all going to look bloody ridiculous walking round with them cumbersome headsets on though?

    GT OhhCory Schmidt

  • 12
    lianne john May 17, 2016 Link to comment

    There's a lot coming up!

    Cory Schmidt

  • Sherzod Abdujabborov 14
    Sherzod Abdujabborov May 17, 2016 Link to comment

    It is hard for me to fully grasp the fundamental change VR will bring into our lives as to how we communicate, consume information, do business or educate ourselves.

    It goes without saying that the technology has an immense capability to enhance our lives - I am struggling like crazy to improve my German now, so having a regular tandem meeting with someone over 'skypeVR' would be quite cool. Is it a dramatic change compared to a regular skype call? I believe so - potentially, I will be able to observe person's gestures and facial expressions upclose, be inside an office when discussing the topic of occupation or at a grocery store when discussing fruits and vegetables. This is a whole new level of experiencing things.

    The moral dilemma is about the realism of these experiences and whether being on Mars or Everest in VR is the same thing as physically being there? Even if I do feel like I am there (let's imagine we invented neurotransmitters that make feel things as if they were real), is it going to be a real experience?

    I am already super sad to see my nephews not talk to each other, but stuck in their phones playing games and sending each other texts while sitting on the same sofa. Would not want things to escalate.

    GT OhhAnna S.Deactivated AccountDeactivated AccountCory Schmidt

    • 31
      Deactivated Account May 17, 2016 Link to comment

      excellent comment...
      I think VR is gonna be mind blowing in a few years ( literally!)
      it's just evolution, like my kids being constantly engaged with a mobile , it's their future that they have to deal with..
      the biggest issue isn't the tech it's what we do with it and why,
      the biggest investor in VR is the pornographic industry followed closely by the gaming industry...
      welcome to the future....

      Anna S.Deactivated AccountSherzod AbdujabborovCory Schmidt

    • 46
      Deactivated Account May 17, 2016 Link to comment

      I agree with Paul, good comment. All I am going to say all this new tech and the good it could bring is mind boggling. The bad that it could bring scares the bejeezus out of me.

      GT OhhAnna S.Cory SchmidtDeactivated AccountSherzod Abdujabborov

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