Barry is a disgruntled employee in his 50s, and it is your job to fire him. Once more, and again, and again. Or it would be if you were taking part in a demo created by a U.S. A company called Talespin for.
It is not the only business that makes the virtual workplace a reality. Virtual reality (or VR as we commonly know it) technology has moved into offices in less than a decade, with VR meetings already being used by mega companies such as Barbie's creator, Mattel.
But where this technology is most likely to affect the working lives of the public is with training programs, such as that involving Barry.
Jeremy Dalton, the head of VR at audit giant PwC, said, "It's not a matter of whether it's going to be a thing in the future," "Virtual reality for training – and in particular, soft skills training and practical skills training–is an area that's being used by organizations across different industries all over the world right now."
Barry, a character created by Talespin in a demo. His only job, again and again, is to be fired. /The Talespin
Virtual technology is efficient because our brain can easily be tricked into thinking that the virtual environment is real, even if it doesn't look real.
For example, a VR game called Walk the Plank, the point of which is to walk to a plank that overlooks the side of a skyscraper from an elevator. The planks are blocky, but the 3D immersion makes people have a physical response as if it were real. None of it looks real.
Sylvia Xueni Pan, the head of the MA program at Goldsmiths, University of London, said, "When you put a headset on, what VR does to you is that you see everything in 3D,"
"The display automatically updates when you move your body because of the tracker you have on your head, which creates sensorimotor contingency. So, instead of looking at what I'm looking at in front of me, I'd be looking at digital simulations, which my brain doesn't know is VR, and then takes it seriously."
A PwC-created training program puts workers in the shoes of someone who experiences daily discrimination. /The PwC
According to a study by PWC, this reaction is why an individual can learn four times quicker than in a classroom.
I mean, we had people cry,"People just responded really strongly to it. I mean, we had people cry,"People just responded really strongly to it. I mean, we had people cry. Many people had palms that were sweaty. At the moment, they just got super awkward.
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"And so, we just thought that that was really interesting, that we could evoke those types of behavioral aspects, even though everybody knew it was 100 percent fake, including the virtual humans even, which were specifically designed to be a little cartoony."
Overall, the interest in virtual reality is growing. According to ARtillery Intelligence, they project the global market to jump from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $14.8 billion in 2023.
In 2018, the business VR market will make up $829 million of that figure and $4.26 billion in 2023. And by the end of the decade, according to PwC, 23 million jobs will include VR and technology for augmented reality.
"I think we're basically one generation, maybe one and a half generations away from all this technology, from a very mixed reality standpoint, changing the way we work–the same way that mobile did think we're basically one generation, maybe one and a half generations away from all this technology, from a very mixed point of view of reality, changing the way we work, the same way as mobile,
A PwC-created virtual reality meeting. /PwCC
However, the increase in demand for these devices, specifically for data protection, raises some ethical concerns.
Companies can follow us across the internet today to get a better picture of what we like and who we are. But with VR, our 'movement data' can show the data much more than that.
I can imagine that... [Companies] can get information about anyone who moves in a certain way and has a higher risk of certain things, such as mental illness. But then they can use this as a way of rejecting, say, someone's health insurance,' added Xueni Pan.
Like everything else, I think VR is a technology, it's a tool. It's not bad or good. It depends on how you're using it.'