Is Hyper-Reality a Real Life Threat?

Virtual Reality, Hyperreality, Augmented Reality, 3D Imagery

Have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a game or a video through virtual reality, that you were unable to consciously decipher whether it was real or not? There are several technological applications designed for play or entertainment that add new dimensions of digital components where the real and virtual worlds enhance each other. Such technology transports end-users into a new age of collaboration and thinking.

Virtual reality (VR), a common application and acronym we are familiar with, offers digital recreation of a real life setting. Typically VR headsets are very popular with gamers, entertainment, media, films, and design, by merging the power of 3-dimensional graphics in an artificial environment. Augmented reality (AR) provides virtual elements in a setting that overlay the real world. Mixed reality (MR) on the other hand, sometimes referred to as Hybrid reality (HR) merges and interrelate the real and virtual worlds, which reacts to each other in real-time environments and visualizations.

Leaders in the tech industry are doing some revolutionary things with motion-activated commands and holograms. VR and AR technology can possibly make a great impact on the medical field. While we are making quantum leaps between virtual, augmented and hybrid worlds, are we also experiencing cautionary symptoms of hyperreality? Hyperreality, a postmodern semiotic concept, coined by French Sociologist and Cultural Theorist, Jean Baudrillard, (according to his book, Simulacra and Simulation), explains a human condition in which the inability to consciously distinguish simulation from the real world really exists.

Technology is reflecting entertainment, reality, and function in radical ways. Of course, there are discussions from various non-tech individuals who seem to agree that addictions to simulated reality, particularly where young people are involved, sometimes gives evidence of real-time life encounters handled through the lens of the 3-D world. For example, kids may not truly understand the consequences resulting from the danger of handling an unsecured weapon and mimicking a VR fight scene that could have fatal consequences.

So what do you think? With such amazing software used to create entertainment for these devices, can hyperreality become such a threat that many gamers may not be able to logically distinguish hybrid reality from the real world?