Virtual Reality: A Real Look at the Impossible

Originally posted 2018-03-22 11:11:19

nvidia-eye-high-resolutionBy: Marvin Hooker | Editor: Kristen Daly |

Let’s face it: with market capitalization of over $2 trillion, virtual reality (VR) has become a major player in today’s technological world. Such technology exists all around us whether we acknowledge it or not. Virtual reality has evolved into something that offers both intrigue and alters human perception by allowing you to see the invisible. Fortune Magazine published an article that highlights some of the advances of virtual reality over the past few years.

Creating, improving, and reinventing technology is nothing new. So, what does the rise of virtual reality technology really mean for us? Well, Jeffrey M. O’Brien of Fortune Magazine put forth various ways through which virtual reality is healing our society. To name a few:

  1. Doctors, medical students, and the merely curious can experience an operation in real time, with 360-degree control over their vantage points, as though they are actually in the operating room.
  2. Virtual reality can render in videogames, entertainment, and exploration. For example, live stream was a showcase of the wondrous potential of VR to educate, train, and, more generally, transport the masses into situations that would otherwise be impossible to experience.
  3. Video conferences can be done in the work place.

Interestingly, Mr. O’Brien also points out that virtual reality has been introduced in the past by several major tech companies. He believes that many failed because they were not able to predict how the virtual reality technology would be used.  His article also mentions that Jeremy Bailenson, head of Stanford University’s VR lab, stated that, “most things don’t work in VR. If you show me 20 ideas, I’ll say 19 of them would be better in another medium. I think VR is best for special, intense experiences…things that are expensive, dangerous, counterproductive, or impossible.”

There are some concerns that have risen about what may put virtual reality at risk of copyright infringement. Johnathan M. Purow (2016) wrote an article about potential IP issues in the virtual reality realm of technology. He wrote that world owners or “service providers” can minimize any risk of liability of infringing actions of its users under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The article explains that under this act, if a company sends a notice to the world owner that there are infringements of its copyright matters in the virtual world, the world owner will minimize its liability if it properly follows the take down procedures provided for in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is important to know because in the event of litigation, the infringers could most likely claim a defense of fair use, since the user will generally have limited defenses.

I’m very optimistic and curious about the future of virtual reality. The technology, in my opinion, will only get better with time. What are your thoughts on this technological boom? On copyright issues that may arise?

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O’Brien, Jeffrey M.  The Race to Make Virtual Reality an Actual (Business) Realty.  April 27, 2016.

Purow, Johnathan M. Virtual Reality May Create Novel IP Issues In The Real World.  March 28, 2016.