Comment Paper – 8: Virtual Reality

English: Virtual reality - Second Life - Non-h...David Gunkel (2010) argues that the problem lies not in virtual life but in reality. I am more eager to identify with virtual reality as a tool but not as a media itself. In research about virtual reality (VR) new types of technological advantages allows us to explore a new phenomenon like the virtual world. As a result, I see virtual reality as an additional instrument that brings new opportunities through its different uses as a tool for communication.

Nonetheless, I do not agree that virtual reality should be used as a tool for military purposes. It is no secret that during World War II pilots were trained in virtual training class rooms. Virtual space is the best “petri dish” for any kind of science (Williams, 2010).For example, Soviet soldiers built a special pilot training base by imitating the enemy’s space and bomb sounds. Likewise the American War in Iraq, where soldiers controlled the gun by remote control from a distance is also an example of using virtual reality.

On the other hand, virtual reality goes beyond military trainings and erases the visual perception between the real and the unreal. I would prefer to read articles about the future users of virtual reality as a tool. For example, we currently know about virtual surgery, virtual Britain, surface computers and the Google earth program, where every action is done virtually and gives the chance to explore life in a new 3-dimensional (3-D) way. Presently researchers (Ratan, 2010; Gunkel, 2010) tend to focus on the virtual interactions between virtual avatars. The importance of this research, of someone trying to identify with the trustworthiness of an avatar is lost to me. In my opinion, the avatar is a technological product and should be understood as a tool coded by special programs. Computer code-dressing (Gunkel, 2010) can explain the virtual behavior of the user.

The idea of virtual life used as a medium to increase communication greatly appeals to me. Anu Sivinen (2011) in her article review found that, “Second life interaction increased intercultural literacy and that avatar appearance was used in cultural identity construction.” Before learning this, I assumed that virtual reality erased the cultural difference, because the user can wear a virtual mask and change their identity easily. Not only is national identity saved; new languages are evolving in virtual world as well. The Na’vi language created by Paul Frommer in the “Avatar” movie was used for the film’s fictional virtual world, and is still very popular. Consequently, all of our real, tangible research tools can easily transfer to the virtual world to test their effectiveness.

Taken as a whole, virtual reality is another instrument whose attributes are still under research. I surmise that there are some similar attributes like those in new media, but virtual reality is broadening by using 3-dimensional spaces. Due to this, in my opinion virtual reality is beneficial as a tool for experimenting plausible real life scenarios virtually, while reducing harm. As a tool it also reserves national identity while influencing and developing new languages. However we should not assume that by analyzing the virtual space the result reflects real life in all circumstances (Gunkel, 2010). Virtual reality is already used by various professionals in different facets, but most common users are more interested in the entertainment aspects of the virtual life. Perhaps in a near future more research on the entertainment effects of virtual reality can help to solve more of 3-D’s unknown puzzles.


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