133: The First Steps to the Holodeck

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The First Steps to the Holodeck

"As technology leaps forward every day, the doors to a completely immersive play experience fly open. While the Star Trek holodeck is probably a ways off, currently existing technology can get us pretty close. It's just a matter of whether or not the entertainment industry can make it affordable enough to be realistic. Then again, if you own a PS3, maybe you're already willing to drop exorbitant amounts of money on games."

Jon Sanderson wonders: Are we there yet?

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Well its a nice dream....

But the reality is that we are still far far away from a "holodeck". Yes you can surround yourself with video in a CAVE (try the Pirates of the Carribean game at DisneyQuest in Florida) or, likely more reasonably, strap on an HMD with head tracking. And yes, already some MMOs are supporting 3D virtualized sound. But haptic feedback remains as elusive as ever.

The "pressure suit" concept comes from air force flight simulators. Its great if you want to simulate the rush of blood to or away from your head and get real "red out" and "black out" but its hardly a general purpose haptic device unless your simualation world consists of being surrounded by randomly inflating baloons.

There are some haptic feedback devices on the market today such as the Novint Falcon (http://home.novint.com/products/novint_falcon.php) but again unless what you want to simulate is pushing and pulling a little handle in your virtual world, the applications are pretty limited.

In short the visual and audio ability to do a "holodeck" have been around since Jaron Lanier coined the term Virtual Reality. What remains distant, however, are all the OTHER sensations that make it anything more then a ghostly world of empty images and sounds.

I can't help but think that the same people who would have trouble fitting into a pressure suit would have similar if not larger difficulties actually carrying on a crazy kung-fu fight.

i agree with incoherent, lets be honest here, whats the average gamer like? and does that person really want to run all the way across your virtual world, in order to do one quest?

cavicchia:
i agree with incoherent, lets be honest here, whats the average gamer like? and does that person really want to run all the way across your virtual world, in order to do one quest?

GOD YES. I love games where you can run around pointlessly in giant areas, junk. That's a poor description, but that's one reason why I liked Windwaker, and no on else did. I liked how it took me a while to go form one place to another, being aable to do fun sutff along the way.

Whenever I come across this topic, the one thing I think that is the most important out of all of these is how control input is managed. If games simulated a world, but you still had the same physical capabilities as you do now, then what's so great about it to begin with?

Lucid dreams in particular come to mind, with the only problem of lucid dreaming being the sheer amount of sensitivity and control is necessary to stay in a dream-state, as well as the fact that most content that the brain comes up with is through merely living and interacting with every-day life.

I think the highest stage that "gaming" can go would be to be at the level of a solidified illusion. How we go about that will be the great question that our children will experience, and advance to the point of where our sci-fi now is reality for them, where violence is rampant, and any sense of freedom is destroyed.

Darkpen:
How we go about that will be the great question that our children will experience, and advance to the point of where our sci-fi now is reality for them

I don't know how old you are, but my dad is 53 and I believe that even he will be able to experience all sensory virtual reality in his life yet.

cavicchia:
i agree with incoherent, lets be honest here, whats the average gamer like? and does that person really want to run all the way across your virtual world, in order to do one quest?

Social networking anyone? If you can interact with people you love that is living on the other side of the world as if he is standing right next to you, won't you do that as regularly as possible? Games and other possibilities won't be nearly as much of a driving factor as this one alone.

You will be able to run a whole business with people where no one is living in the same City/State/Country. www.blit-blot.com these guys created Aquaria over distance, this will become the norm not the exception. If I as a developer can live wherever I like and still do my job exactly the same as before, why won't I take advantage of that?

While it may be still a few years off, don't get a fright when you wipe your eyes of the sleep and find yourself unable to cope with the new networking revolution.

Actually, the Wii reminds me how far away we're still from a "holodeck"

It's not a bad control device by any means, and the level of interaction with even such a simple game as Wii Sports is truly amazing, but in most games it is just a different method of input, and not necessarily a more immersive one.

Other than that, i'm not even sure if i would like a "holodeck"...Okay, it would be definitly cool, but...

Do i really want to go into a isolated enviroment every time i play a game?
Will graphics ever be good enough to let you feel truely as a part of the world?
What about games like Puzzles, or Strategy Games, what use has a "holodeck" here?

Even if all the technology was there, I still don't think the holodeck would be the hit everyone thinks it would be. Why you ask? Because it would require a certain level of physical effort to "play". Nobody is going to do that.

Obviously, it would not be suited for all experiences. But a holoroom would clearly have more mundane applications than pure gaming.

Check this out. Not exactly what you're looking for, but still fun.

EDIT: besides, I think too many here have a vision that is not far from this.

According to the creator of Dilbert, the holodeck will be the end of civilization. I can see where he's coming from. Why enter meat space and have to deal with STDs, unwanted pregnancies, or the downs of marriage? You can just go onto the holodeck and have at it with the partners of your dreams.

Arbre:
EDIT: besides, I think too many here have a vision that is not far from this.

That's quite thought provoking. I can easily see where that could become a reality.

Kinda eerie...

Novan Leon:

Arbre:
EDIT: besides, I think too many here have a vision that is not far from this.

That's quite thought provoking. I can easily see where that could become a reality.

Kinda eerie...

Well, in some recent brain shampoo cession, game devs were all shitting their pants, scaring themselves and all going no, this can't happen, and if it does, it could only end bad.

General Ma Chao:
According to the creator of Dilbert, the holodeck will be the end of civilization. I can see where he's coming from. Why enter meat space and have to deal with STDs, unwanted pregnancies, or the downs of marriage? You can just go onto the holodeck and have at it with the partners of your dreams.

I actually think it'll be the beginning of real civilization--what will you do when you can have any kind of pleasurable experience you want without having to work for it? It becomes a lot easier to spend your life as a starving artist when you have access to a holodeck where you can eat steak and lay on a warm beach all day.

Not to mention it'll make our interactions in meatspace much more pure--the not-so-attractive person with the great personality becomes a lot easier to spend one's life with when you've got an infinite supply of gorgeous, totally willing sex partners on digital tap.

Because let's face it: that's who is going to develop holodeck technology first. The porn industry. Pressure suit? Let's be honest--all you really need is a pressure *sleeve* to go with all that other stuff.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

General Ma Chao:
According to the creator of Dilbert, the holodeck will be the end of civilization. I can see where he's coming from. Why enter meat space and have to deal with STDs, unwanted pregnancies, or the downs of marriage? You can just go onto the holodeck and have at it with the partners of your dreams.

I actually think it'll be the beginning of real civilization--what will you do when you can have any kind of pleasurable experience you want without having to work for it? It becomes a lot easier to spend your life as a starving artist when you have access to a holodeck where you can eat steak and lay on a warm beach all day.

Not to mention it'll make our interactions in meatspace much more pure--the not-so-attractive person with the great personality becomes a lot easier to spend one's life with when you've got an infinite supply of gorgeous, totally willing sex partners on digital tap.

Because let's face it: that's who is going to develop holodeck technology first. The porn industry. Pressure suit? Let's be honest--all you really need is a pressure *sleeve* to go with all that other stuff.

But who will want to make babies with that non-to-attractive person after spending yourself on all the fake gorgeous women? How will virtual food nourish your body in order to keep you alive?

Novan Leon:

But who will want to make babies with that non-to-attractive person after spending yourself on all the fake gorgeous women? How will virtual food nourish your body in order to keep you alive?

Anyone who *really* wants a baby, because you can 'try before you buy' being a parent on the holodeck, after the five or so years of banging virtual supermodels that gets that out of one's system.

Hugh Grant paid for sex with Divine Brown--as one comedian put it, 'Marvin Hagler in a blonde wig'--while he was going out with Liz Hurley. Think about it. He *paid* for sex with a woman about one percent as attractive as the woman he was getting free sex from.

And the virtual food on the holodeck won't nourish you--it'll just make it that much easier to eat a perfectly nutritious, low-carbon footprint, ecologically sustainable diet in the real world.

Personally I think it would be more interesting to have a gaming machine closer to the one described in Dennis L. Mckiernan's Caverns of Socrates. Where the people playing are basically put into these capsules and supplied with food and water through tubes, and are basically "dreaming" an environment controlled by a computer. Other than that, the fact is that once you think about a game acting as an alternate civilization, one in which you can eat sleep and live in, people will not want to ever leave. If you get everything you want from something, why go back to a place where you don't get everything you want? No, while it would be fun to have virtual reality or a "holodeck," if it got so far as to cater to everyone's whim then there would be no more life on this earth. We could each live a million lives just by fast-forwarding, but what would we accomplish? What is life without challenge? What is living without constantly trying to better ourselves? Sure, some people may do that in the beginning, but once they figured out that they could live any way they want with no consequences they would quickly become addicts. They would stop living for the simple joy of life and start living for simple pleasures and getting everything they want when they want it. The earth would be covered in "holodecks" with a very few people actually inhabiting and living life as we know it now. Fantasy is fun, but after a while one needs to come back.

Novan Leon:

But who will want to make babies with that non-to-attractive person after spending yourself on all the fake gorgeous women? How will virtual food nourish your body in order to keep you alive?

1. No more Pampers, thanks to holofeces.
2. Bring your steak with you.
3. Star Trek's holodeck are just advanced unlikely technology, well for the moment, and there's lot to come before anything like photon and magnetic field manipulation could reach such a level. I wouldn't like to be inside when the machine gets a blue screen, if it's to be impaled by raws and columns of code.
4. A simple holoroom, where surrounding light spectacles would be the major feature, would be plain enough for me. As you'd sit in a fashion circle painted on the floor, your hands' moves would be sensed, you'd be touching spheres of light floating all around you... ah, I can picture my totally made up colourful zen environment...

Zeddicus Zhul Zorander:
Personally I think it would be more interesting to have a gaming machine closer to the one described in Dennis L. Mckiernan's Caverns of Socrates. Where the people playing are basically put into these capsules and supplied with food and water through tubes, and are basically "dreaming" an environment controlled by a computer. Other than that, the fact is that once you think about a game acting as an alternate civilization, one in which you can eat sleep and live in, people will not want to ever leave. If you get everything you want from something, why go back to a place where you don't get everything you want? No, while it would be fun to have virtual reality or a "holodeck," if it got so far as to cater to everyone's whim then there would be no more life on this earth. We could each live a million lives just by fast-forwarding, but what would we accomplish? What is life without challenge? What is living without constantly trying to better ourselves? Sure, some people may do that in the beginning, but once they figured out that they could live any way they want with no consequences they would quickly become addicts. They would stop living for the simple joy of life and start living for simple pleasures and getting everything they want when they want it. The earth would be covered in "holodecks" with a very few people actually inhabiting and living life as we know it now. Fantasy is fun, but after a while one needs to come back.

Why? Why does one need to come back? Wouldn't that be the "Utopia" that we have constantly been bettering ourselves towards? Why should we force people to continue suffering in this realm, when we've created heaven for the masses? I think it's an admirable goal. No more want, no more work, no more weakness.

Exactly, we would have Utopia. And slowly, everyone would die. And the human race would be extinct.

Zeddicus Zhul Zorander:
Exactly, we would have Utopia. And slowly, everyone would die. And the human race would be extinct.

If history has taught me anything, it's that most people don't care what will happen to future generations. Good or bad, it won't affect them, since they will be dead.

On an interesting note, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert, now I know his name) had a blog entry in February '07 that asked what people would do if they had robots that could fulfill their companionship needs, including sex. They would look and act like humans, only they could of course be customized for the look and personality the person wants. Nearly everyone who commented, both male and female, said they would do it as long as it was "self-cleaning". ...yeah. We're so disgusted by and afraid of our fellow humans that we resort to stuff like this. Our society is in dire need of help.

Zeddicus Zhul Zorander:
Exactly, we would have Utopia. And slowly, everyone would die. And the human race would be extinct.

The human race is already headed towards extinction. It's just a question of how long it takes.

General Ma Chao:

On an interesting note, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert, now I know his name) had a blog entry in February '07 that asked what people would do if they had robots that could fulfill their companionship needs, including sex. They would look and act like humans, only they could of course be customized for the look and personality the person wants. Nearly everyone who commented, both male and female, said they would do it as long as it was "self-cleaning". ...yeah. We're so disgusted by and afraid of our fellow humans that we resort to stuff like this. Our society is in dire need of help.

Did they say they would do it? Or did they say they would do it *forever*? There's a big difference.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

General Ma Chao:

On an interesting note, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert, now I know his name) had a blog entry in February '07 that asked what people would do if they had robots that could fulfill their companionship needs, including sex. They would look and act like humans, only they could of course be customized for the look and personality the person wants. Nearly everyone who commented, both male and female, said they would do it as long as it was "self-cleaning". ...yeah. We're so disgusted by and afraid of our fellow humans that we resort to stuff like this. Our society is in dire need of help.

Did they say they would do it? Or did they say they would do it *forever*? There's a big difference.

The commenters never said explicitly, but it was easy to infer. Some of the comments were "I'm sick of women nagging me!" "I'm sick of men's disgusting beer bellies!" That sounds to me like a long time at the very least. Why grow as a person when you can wallow in your selfishness and have a robot servant who will fulfill your EVERY need? It's the ultimate form of self gratification. To see how far it can go, read Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell and watch the Futurama episode "I dated a robot".

General Ma Chao:

The commenters never said explicitly, but it was easy to infer. Some of the comments were "I'm sick of women nagging me!" "I'm sick of men's disgusting beer bellies!" That sounds to me like a long time at the very least. Why grow as a person when you can wallow in your selfishness and have a robot servant who will fulfill your EVERY need?

Because that probably gets old sooner than one would think. I think people wallow in selfishness only when they feel some lack of security in getting their needs met. When a person is confident they can get their needs met, that's when people tend to grow as people. I haven't seen either of the pieces you've mentioned, but, my guess is those are characters so flawed that they couldn't find that kind of security even when presented with a cornucopia of plenty. I don't think most people are that flawed. I think a lot of people are walking around with problems that could be solved if they could just feel some security.

I think people feel very insecure when it comes to meeting their companionship needs, *especially* when it comes to sex. And I think people rarely grow as a person because they have to. I think when people grow, they almost always do so because they want to, because they feel good about themselves.

I think a lot of people delude themselves into thinking they've grown as a person. Those people are the ones who 'put up' with nagging women and fat men, but actually, the cheat on them with prostitutes who don't nag or cabana boys who have rock hard abs. I think in most cases, when faced with the need to 'grow as a person' people just go through the motions and pretend to, fooling everyone around them including themselves.

Self-respect and self-confidence both come hand-in-hand with self-control and self-discipline. Our desires are like small fires that grow and become larger with every indulgence that we give them. These two reality's constantly war against eachother in our daily lives.

If we had robot servants or a holodeck that could fulfill our every desire, people would become obsessed, but never satisfied. The new device would consume them until cold hard reality either hit them and they woke up, or they died. The ones who woke up would carry on the race while the ones who didn't would die out. It's called natural selection.

General Ma Chao:

Zeddicus Zhul Zorander:
Exactly, we would have Utopia. And slowly, everyone would die. And the human race would be extinct.

If history has taught me anything, it's that most people don't care what will happen to future generations. Good or bad, it won't affect them, since they will be dead.

On an interesting note, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert, now I know his name) had a blog entry in February '07 that asked what people would do if they had robots that could fulfill their companionship needs, including sex. They would look and act like humans, only they could of course be customized for the look and personality the person wants. Nearly everyone who commented, both male and female, said they would do it as long as it was "self-cleaning". ...yeah. We're so disgusted by and afraid of our fellow humans that we resort to stuff like this. Our society is in dire need of help.

What's so bad about that? What you're talking about is robot sentiency, as nothing else would be able to do that. I've always thought it odd the waypeople assume that AI's will be somehow "less" than us. People seem to have no concept of things like Asimovs 3 laws being nothing less than slavery. As long as the robot gets to choose, I see no problem.

P.S
I haven't read all the posts.

Novan Leon:
Self-respect and self-confidence both come hand-in-hand with self-control and self-discipline. Our desires are like small fires that grow and become larger with every indulgence that we give them.

And self-discipline and self-control are both products of a feeling of security. There's a huge difference between 'indulging a desire' and 'gaining a feeling of security'. The reason our desires seem to grow like fires is because they sometimes direct us towards more 'fuel', instead of towards 'water'.

A holodeck would be water to our desires, not fuel. The 'reward every time, whenever you need it' mechanism would build that feeling of security, not stoke the flames of desire.

Why? Why does one need to come back? Wouldn't that be the "Utopia" that we have constantly been bettering ourselves towards? Why should we force people to continue suffering in this realm, when we've created heaven for the masses? I think it's an admirable goal. No more want, no more work, no more weakness.

Well, you see, um, I have an admission to make:

I have a holodeck.

A real life holodeck.

Every night, I close my eyes and activate the holodeck, and so I live in my own perfect world, for about 6 hours. I think, using the jargon of the Holodeck World, they call it a 'dream'.

And then, I wake up from my slumber, and then go back to sleep because I want to return back to my holodeck.

To be certain, I can't stay within the holodeck. The US Government demands that I work so that I get money. So I wake up, and return to the Real World. But, what if, what if the government does put me on a welfare check and let me go to sleep forever? I think I probraly would be lazy, if given the chance, and stay inside that holodeck for a while longer.

But to be honest, I can't. I can't really go to sleep forever, even if I tried. That's because I know it's not real. I know the dreamworld where I return to every night is not real, it's just pretend, having no reflection on real life. It is this boundary of "This is real" and "This is not real" that makes me not stay within the refuge of my Real Life Holodeck. If...if I thought it was real...then...I would have stayed.

I don't know WHY I want to stay in the Real World. I just don't. But I'm glad for that feeling, and so should the rest of humanity.

Oh, and I wouldn't buy another Holodeck. One is more than enough.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

And self-discipline and self-control are both products of a feeling of security.

Actually, it works the other way around. Self-discipline and self-control lead to feeling secure, not the other way around.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
A holodeck would be water to our desires, not fuel. The 'reward every time, whenever you need it' mechanism would build that feeling of security, not stoke the flames of desire.

In reality, this kind of indulgence would only breed discontent. The holodeck would become 'boring' and something else would take it's place as the next great thing.

The actual result would vary from person to person, but it would generally unfold as I described.

Novan Leon:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

And self-discipline and self-control are both products of a feeling of security.

Actually, it works the other way around. Self-discipline and self-control lead to feeling secure, not the other way around.

Totally disagree. Security comes from feeling a sense of power--'I can get my needs met'. A person who feels power--true power, the power to get 'enough' and not just 'more'--is a person with self-discipline and self-control. They don't have to gorge themselves every time they get the chance, because they don't feel like they live in a world of feast-or-famine.

Novan Leon:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
A holodeck would be water to our desires, not fuel. The 'reward every time, whenever you need it' mechanism would build that feeling of security, not stoke the flames of desire.

In reality, this kind of indulgence would only breed discontent. The holodeck would become 'boring' and something else would take it's place as the next great thing.

Again, I totally disagree. You're basing that off of watching what happens when people get 'more' of something, not when people get 'enough'. A holodeck would maybe start as an indulgence, but, when people realize it's not going anywhere, it would become more of a safety net.

There's a huge difference between indulging your desires, and building a safety net you can depend on to keep you from experiencing want.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Novan Leon:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

And self-discipline and self-control are both products of a feeling of security.

Actually, it works the other way around. Self-discipline and self-control lead to feeling secure, not the other way around.

Totally disagree. Security comes from feeling a sense of power--'I can get my needs met'. A person who feels power--true power, the power to get 'enough' and not just 'more'--is a person with self-discipline and self-control. They don't have to gorge themselves every time they get the chance, because they don't feel like they live in a world of feast-or-famine.

And I would argue that, to people without self-control or self-discipline, there is never 'enough'.

How do you define 'enough'? Isn't 'enough' entirely up to the individual? There are families in Africa who have 'enough', yet never will have as much as poor families in America who don't have 'enough'. 'Enough' is a state of mind as well as a state of the body. If your theory were correct, Americans would never gorge themselves because they all have 'enough'.

Can you provide some examples of your observations in action?

Novan Leon:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
A holodeck would be water to our desires, not fuel. The 'reward every time, whenever you need it' mechanism would build that feeling of security, not stoke the flames of desire.

In reality, this kind of indulgence would only breed discontent. The holodeck would become 'boring' and something else would take it's place as the next great thing.

Again, I totally disagree. You're basing that off of watching what happens when people get 'more' of something, not when people get 'enough'. A holodeck would maybe start as an indulgence, but, when people realize it's not going anywhere, it would become more of a safety net.

There's a huge difference between indulging your desires, and building a safety net you can depend on to keep you from experiencing want.[/quote]The problem with using terms like 'enough' and 'more' is that they are too subjective. It makes it difficult to debate.

Novan Leon:
And I would argue that, to people without self-control or self-discipline, there is never 'enough'.

How do you define 'enough'? Isn't 'enough' entirely up to the individual? There are families in Africa who have 'enough', yet never will have as much as poor families in America who don't have 'enough'. 'Enough' is a state of mind as well as a state of the body. If your theory were correct, Americans would never gorge themselves because they all have 'enough'.

Can you provide some examples of your observations in action?

...

The problem with using terms like 'enough' and 'more' is that they are too subjective. It makes it difficult to debate.

The term 'enough' isn't subjective *to we the observer*--it just varies, as you pointed out, from person to person. What I'm saying is that, whatever the individual definition of 'enough' is, a holodeck can meet it.

How can anyone want infinity+1, you know?

An example of my observations in action? Doesn't our world look a lot more like Mad Max than it does like Ice Pirates?

There's nothing we can compare a holodeck to, but the closest thing would be to compare the effect of a guarantee of an unlimited supply of clean water to how people behave when it comes to commodities with a limited supply. How many people do you know that hoard water in countries where if you just turn the tap on, it comes out? How many people are interested in 'more' water? Once you have an guaranteed unlimited supply of something, no matter how you define 'enough' you'll have 'enough', so you stop looking for 'more'.

It's not that I think humans are fluffy little bunnies with nothing bad in their makeup. It's that I think people who see the holodeck as the end of civilization are overly pessimistic and don't realize that a lot of the evil we see in the world is contingent, but not necessary.

In other words, they think it is due to the interaction between human nature and *any* possible world. I'm not denying the evil in *this* world, but I am saying that you're confusing truths about this world with truths about human nature. And a holodeck would make for a totally different world.

I think is the flaw in your argument is that you fail to recognize the difference between going from one finite number to a larger finite number, and going from *any* finite number to an *infinite* number.

The all sensory virtual reality/holodeck experience will become an alternate reality. Even if we are not self sustainable most people will be able to create intellectual property while plugged into one of the many alternate realities available.

Creating content or even your own alternate reality will be where the fame/money/power will be.
Real life will only be one of the many realities in which you can decide to exist.

Robots will slowly but surely make any work that is not IP obsolete for the average person out there. Where will they spend MOST of their time? In a overcrowded world or in a alternate reality where all their desires are satisfied, including their desire to feel like a somebody. Current MMO's are pathetic, but they show a strong desire in the average person to be something they know they will never be in real life.

And once it get so real that you senses can't distinguish it will be able to fulfill our needs just as well as real life. There will always be a feeling of dissatisfaction, like in real life. Its this feeling that pushes us forward and compels us to try to make the world even more than it already is. But that will only serve to reinforce those alternate realities as your own instead of dispelling them.

I strongly believe that unless there is a holocaust that this will be the future that awaits us.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
The term 'enough' isn't subjective *to we the observer*--it just varies, as you pointed out, from person to person. What I'm saying is that, whatever the individual definition of 'enough' is, a holodeck can meet it.

And that's exactly the problem. Your assuming that humans would never consume more than 'enough' than is reasonable. If my definition of 'enough' is so much that it begins to destroy my life, such as over-eating, becoming obsessed with sex, taking out my anger on people via virtual killing, etc., the holodeck would just serve to fuel this excess. I would eat and eat to my heart's content, until eating synthesized holo-food would seem boring to me (while at the same time I'm becoming a fat slob). Eventually, eating real food would become the novelty, the truly desirable commodity, and my excess would continue.

Without self-control or self-discipline, people will continue to excess and ultimately their own destruction.

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