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Virtual Reality: Helping or Hindering Humanity?

Virtual reality is the first technological innovation that came to mind when reading through this assignment’s questions. Virtual reality is a technology that has advanced immensely in the past 10 years, but its full effect has yet to be felt. Developing efficient virtual reality systems and programs is still too expensive for it to be implemented in every walk of life, but in time I envision virtual reality having a spot in almost every facet of life. Obviously, virtual reality has and will continue to provide great benefits for humanity. These benefits include, but are not limited to, training for military and medicine, PTSD treatment for veterans and victims of crime, and therapy for paraplegics. 

I believe virtual reality is something that people will need to be trained to use. Using Japan’s Hikikomori population as an example, technology has the power to shield human’s from society and reality. This in turn can have harmful effects on the individual, they believe they are helping themselves by protecting themselves from society, but in reality they are hurting themselves and shortening their lives. A hikikomori is defined as an individual who 

  • spending most of the day and nearly every day confined to home,
  • marked and persistent avoidance of social situations, and social relationships,
  • social withdrawal symptoms causing significant functional impairment,
  • duration of at least six months, and
  • no apparent physical or mental etiology to account for the social withdrawal symptoms.


I know that virtual reality is not the cause for hikikomori’s existing, but I believe that a technology as immersive as virtual reality could aid in furthering along the problem. 
Virtual reality has the potential to train humans for tasks in an extremely efficient manner that we have never experienced before, but it also has the potential to further alienate those who are prone to such behavior. 

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