The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Virtual Reality - Virtual or Real???

A foggy winter morning in December, it was 8 AM on a Sunday. The road was muddy, bordered heavily by trees so much that not even a drop of sunlight could strike the ground. An entire army of Skirmishers are wading their way through. They are however, quite unsure of guerrilla attacks that can happen to them. In the meantime, out of nowhere, they hear a noise of footsteps from behind. They are all ready with their shields and daggers ready for the onslaught. In the meantime, they get a glance of the first row in the army. The colour of the uniform, Blue, was glowing despite no sunlight. They heaved a sigh of relief only to know that it was their allies sent by the neighbouring kingdom to back them up in their attack on the territories of Queen Isabella.

Marching a little ahead, they meet a bunch of Capped Rams led by a few Champions for a siege attack. There were also some onagers to support the siege. These were also bleeding Blue and they realized that they belonged to another ally of theirs, Emperor Visigoth. The catch is that the army has been equipped with a lens that filters out all the colours. It has been so programmed that all their allies appear in Blue and all their Enemies appear in Red. If there was any territory that was neutral to them, they would just appear in Grey. So, it would be an easy task for the army to launch an attack automatically just by recognizing the colour that they see.

Back at the capitol, Philip was worried. He was seeing everything on his monitor. Nothing unusual was happening. He was wondering if his enemies fled to a different territory. He was sure that this was the weakest one of all his enemy territories. He started growing suspicious of an ambush. He slackened the pace of his soldiers just with the click of his mouse. He wished he were a Briton purely because he could have archers that could even blow off an entire castle without being seen. His bunch of skirmishers is no match for the attack that comes from his enemy’s castle. So, he was happy for the archers sent by his Indian friend and the siege sent by his Gothic friend.

All of a sudden, a conch shell blew loud on his monitor. This was also an adjustment made up only to alert him in case they sense an enemy nearby. Immediately all his men got into an Eagle formation, facing outwards. The archers behind his men also reacted immediately and made themselves ready for a surprise attack from a distance. Suddenly came out a group of paladins marching ahead on horsebacks. In a single swoosh of their swords; the entire bunch of skirmishers got swept away. Even before the archers could react, the paladins left the place. The same scene repeated at the siege team too. They were outsmarted by the enemy’s troops. Philip could not digest what happened there. So was his Indian friend too. They were plotting a surprise attack this time, from a different route, and all preparations were made in about an hours’ time. The army was ready, pumped up, heavily upgraded, with a uniform mix of various skill sets. The plan was to be executed. And then…

The screen went blank. Philip could find the status message on his screen blinking after a couple of seconds. It read “Could not connect to the server”. He was wondering what went wrong. After waiting for almost an hour, he was exasperated. He tried examining a different program to get some inputs. And he found a map of the city in front of him. Some areas were blinking in Red. He only understood later that those areas in his city were infiltrated and he had the job of clearing the crap. He immediately took the shoes of a counter terrorist and got into action. In no time, he formed a team of 6 and all of them armed with the most sophisticated of the weapons, took down their targets with agility. Basking in the success of the operation, and frustrated over not being able to get any further updates on the server, he took to farming. He already had a huge 4-acre farm, two cows, twenty pigs, forty five fowls, a reindeer, and in the middle of the farm, he had a beautiful house overlooking the entire farm. He went to the farm to check the update on the productivity. He was happy to find some brinjals ready for harvest. So, he spent some time on his farm and made some permutations and combinations on the produce that he wanted to see the next day. Finally having decided on it, he harvested the brinjals, fed the animals and birds, by dusk. He was waiting for his girlfriend. He left his farm and got back home where his girlfriend was waiting for him. He took her out for dinner, and later to a nightclub, and they had a nice evening.

“Philip…”

“Hey.. Philip… Can’t you hear me??”

Suddenly Philip raised his head and could see his boss screaming at him.

All the events described until the penultimate scene were virtual. Philip started off with Age of Empires, went onto play Counter Strike, and then bored of the mission, tried Farmville. Finally, he landed up in city ville, where he met his Girlfriend (virtual) impressed her to improve his Appeal and Health, all while in office, and that was when his boss screamed at him. Well, gaming is the first step towards creating virtual reality.

The age of virtual reality has crept in very fast like a green snake in the grass. In no time, everyone across the world started being patrons to virtual reality. The rate of additions to the various events of the virtual world has been exponentially exponential and has been found to be alarming. People are missing out on the ‘personal connect’ element in life. The day has arrived when one boasts of having 2500 friends on facebook, 1500 friends on orkut, and many more on many such other networking sites. But in reality, he hardly knows half a ton of them. One is friends with his neighbour on facebook, but has never seen him nor had a chat with him in reality. Despite this, they keep exchanging farms, gifts, and many more almost every other hour. An average networked person today has a profile of his in the world of virtual reality. Every day, millions, or probably billions of interactions keep happening in the virtual world. This number is only increasing every hour. At his rate, there is a huge peril awaiting the next generation in terms of the proportion of real and virtual worlds in their daily life.

Even kids are no exception. They have their own timeshare in the virtual world. There are a lot of apps aimed at kids to keep them enticed and occupied. Kids today only speak of gaming. Gone are the days of saying that such and such kids are born with silver spoons in their mouth. Gone are the days of cartoons and television. Today’s average kid knows how to handle a notebook, a mobile phone, and given a chance, they would teach us how to handle various technologically advanced gadgets. The processing speed of a kid of today is at least ten times of what his previous generation had. In such a case, why should that be drained in virtuality and why not put into action in reality?

Recently I saw one of my friends posting on facebook which read “Driving a two wheeler on a road after playing Need for Speed is really dangerous”. I can say that this is the result of a constant exposure to those unreasonable acts of human inhumanity in the matrix of the physically existing virtuality backed up by incessant brainfeed of information all around, in support of the same. Simply put, this is a result of spending hours of time in the virtual world. In general, the mob around us is determining what we do and hence, everyone is ending up doing the same.

I’d be really sure to double-check if a next gen child ends up saying that his dad is a multi-faceted genius; a farmer, an army general, a Counter-Terrorist Chief, a cook, and many more. In reality he could probably just be a manager in some private sector firm, whereas the child has different virtual avatars of his dad. Cutting the long story short, the world of virtuality is enchanting, enticing, encouraging, and at the same time, endangering the true existence of humanity. Even few Sci Fi movies in English have tried projecting the impact of Artificial Intelligence. Though there are benefits in this, the hazards will remain to dominate the benefits. I just wish the battery limits between them remain sacrosanct and distinguishable so that human intellect and wisdom remain real.

Disclaimer: Not that i’m aloof to gaming, even I spend quite some time every week for gaming. But after all, at the end of the day, its just a game. It’s not real.

Though the situations here are inspired from some people around me, I do not mean anything ‘mean’ against gaming or the people crazy about gaming.

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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli