Legendary programmer John Carmack, co-founder of id Software doom Building a virtual reality world where “people want to go back to their headsets” would be a “positive thing,” said Facebook’s Oculus VR fame and consulting chief technology officer. Carmack ominously likens VR to the rise of the internet, saying: “I do think it’s going to be as good as the way the web slowly takes over, where you’re a frog in a slowly heating pot.”
In Lex Fridman’s podcast of the same name, released last Thursday, Carmack described virtual reality as a superior alternative to reality.
Carmack declined to describe the possible future of virtual reality’s growing popularity as “dystopian.” “The whole point of VR,” he says, is to create a superior digital alternative to physical reality.
There was a time when we were asked to bring [a response to the question]: “What’s your take on VR?”, and my advice is that the inside of the headset should be better than the outside. This is the world you want, and everyone thinks it’s dystopia. Like, ‘Oh, will you forget the outside world? ‘.
I don’t understand this mentality. …if you can make the world inside your headphones a better place than the outside, you improve the lives of those who wear them [and] can wear.
In the real world, we can’t do much for everyone. Everyone can’t have Richard Branson’s private island, but everyone can have a private VR island with what they want.There are plenty of competing commodities like this in the real world, and VR can do it better [providing]. We can do a lot of these things and can be very, very rich.
So yeah, I think it’s going to be a positive thing, in a world where people want to go back to their headphones, it’s better than [reality]. People who live in small apartments can have palatial states in virtual reality. They can have all their friends from all over the world come and visit them without everyone getting on a plane and meeting somewhere and dealing with all the other logistical hassles.
Carmack predicts that the development of virtual reality is similar to the rise of the Internet, using the analogy of the slow-cooking frog to illustrate his prediction that virtual reality will become more and more popular in an expanding field. He predicts that the future ubiquity of VR will come through incremental development, not a single inflection point:
I do think it would be as kind as the way the network slowly takes over, in which case you are a frog in a slowly warming water basin.experienced [the rise of the Internet], I remember being shocked when you started seeing the first website addresses on billboards, when you said, ‘Hey, my computer world is infecting the real world. This spread somehow.
Still, when you look back and say, “Okay, what made the web take off?” It wasn’t a big bang moment. It turned out to be a bunch of little things, and the results are not even relevant to the present.
It’s not because one thing is growing exponentially. This is because we have hundreds of little S-curves that overlap each other and they just keep adding up, so you have something exponentially growing at any given point, but none of them are critical. There are dozens of kind of thing.
Carmack makes multiple references to 1992 science fiction avalanche- Facebook took inspiration from this for its new company name Meta — The Internet of the future world evolves into a metaverse based on virtual reality.