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How will VR affect our memories?

BY  · OCTOBER 7, 2015

You only know what you can remember, as the saying goes, but virtual reality technology holds the potential to reorganize and adulterate a person’s memory, blurring the lines between what is real and what is virtual.

Our strongest memories are deeply ingrained based on events and experiences that activate the maximum amount of neural connections in our brains, especially when an event is highly charged emotionally. That’s why most parents can never forget the joy of their child’s birth, and some soldiers can never fully recover from their traumatic experiences in war.

Virtual reality headsets are not just about cool new gaming environments and 360-degree movies. Virtual reality is destined to permeate all facets of society, including business, government, the arts, education, and leisure. The fast-emerging VR industry is already forecast to top $30 billion in revenue by 2020, according to tech advisory firm Digi-Capital.

Most people experience motion sickness and discomfort from the extended use of current virtual reality headsets. But once this communications technology is perfected, it has the potential to transform the world in ways similar to the printing press or the Internet, and that is no marketing exaggeration. We should recognize that virtual reality headsets are built to literally take over people’s sensory controls by covering their eyes and ears, and tricking the brain into perceiving a completely fabricated, displaced “virtual” reality.

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