A few years ago I saw Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann speak at a brand conference.
What he said has stuck with me since. He said that he created Pinterest is to inspire people to do things in the real world. In other words, to get people off the computer and out of the house so they would go on that excursion, try that exercise, or cook that recipe.
Not surprisingly, people have the same optimism for virtual reality but the same challenges exist.
People already live their lives through screens. Virtual reality is going to be so much better than the real world that no one’s going to want to ever take it off. Even worse, the action-packed video games could lead to violence in the real world. On the flip side, the benefits of VR outweigh the costs.
Mark Zuckerberg bought Oculus Rift not just for gaming but for the educational purposes. Imagine learning whatever you want in a virtual class. Imagine standing with Jeff Staples as he teaches you how to make t-shirts in his Skillshare course. If the Internet flattened the world, virtual reality could give people the know-how and courage to actually change it.
Like Pinterest, the hope is that these VR devices inspire more real world action rather than becoming time-wasting machines.
Meanwhile, augmented reality looks rather unpleasant.