Virtual reality

computer-simulated environment simulating physical presence in real or imagined worlds

Virtual reality is a simulated real or fictional environment that creates an immersive experience in the user.

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  • On its own, even utopian VR can't transcend the limits of our genetically constrained "set-point" of well-being or ill-being. Ironically, a mass migration into virtual worlds may come to represent Peripheralism's final fling. Only total control of one's notional surroundings via immersive VR may be enough to convince the sceptic of the futility of purely environmental manipulation to secure lasting happiness. By contrast, the symbiosis of gradients of genetically preprogrammed euphoria and the application of mature virtual reality software engineering is an awesomely exciting prospect[.]
  • If you think you're plugged straight into the Real World, then the prospect of plugging in to silicon VR will seem like a retreat into fantasy-world escapism. On the other hand, if you've long ceased to believe that The World was yours to lose in the first place, then you may decide that nasty old organic VR is a world well lost.
  • A virtual world is the content of a given medium. It may exist solely in the mind of its originator or be broadcast in such a way that it can be shared with others. A virtual world can exist without being displayed in a virtual reality system (i.e., an integrated collection of hardware, software, and content assembled for producing virtual reality experiences)–much like play or film scripts exist independently of specific instances of their performance. Such scripts do in fact describe virtual worlds. Let’s carry the analogy further. We can refer to the script of a play as merely the description of a play. When that description is brought to life via actors, stage sets, and music, we are experiencing the play’s virtual world. Similarly, a computer-based virtual world is the description of objects within a simulation. When we view that world via a system that brings those objects and interactions to us in a physically immersive, interactive presentation, we are experiencing it via virtual reality.
    • William Sherman & Alan Craig, Understanding Virtual Reality (2002), ch. 1 "Introduction to Virtual Reality"

See also