The Year 2044: Nanotechnology and the Travel & Tourism Industry (the transition from Augmented Reality Devices to Full Immersion Virtual Reality)

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Current Events, Futurism: The Year 2044, Science & Reality

This article, part of the Year 2044 series, was composed by: Benjamin Nehemiah, author of Quantum PropheciesBabylon Resurrected 

Through war and peace, the growth of science and technology has never ceased. The (r)evolution of the lesiure and tourism industry in the 2040’s was caused by the accelerating growth of information technology (specifically, the development of three-dimensional silicon chips came before we transitioned to super-fast, non-silicon-based computing. We harnessed the power of optical computing and also quantum computing, after we overcame the challenges surrounding superposition & quantum parallelism. The digital age saw an explosion in data growth & it proved quite challenging to manage…storage devices such as magnetic tape deteriorate quickly and hard disks platters are expensive to run and are prone to failures thus, neither device was viable in the long run – it was realised that the stability, durability and density of DNA makes it a perfectly viable alternative to magnetic tape and hard disk platters thus, synthesizing DNA resolved our data storage issues). Ray Kurzweil recognised this trend of accelerating growth over 40 years ago, as he pointed out before the turn of the millennium: “Technological change is exponential… we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Kurzweil recognised the exponential growth of IT and also understood that: “…the progress will ultimately become so fast that it will rupture our ability to follow it. It will literally get out of our control.” Thus, we are not without challenges today – as we approach the technological singularity, eventually the universe will be saturated with human-machine intelligence & unable to sustain our rate of growth (click here for a Vision of the Future).



Full Immersion Virtual Reality (FIVR)

Advances in nanotechnology and full immersion virtual reality (FIVR) hasn’t just altered the gaming industry but also education, business and entertainment. For the first time, people can now visit a number of destinations throughout the globe, without travelling and spending lots of money. Although full immersion virtual reality (FIVR) is still young and not without its problems, many travel firms who failed to alter their business model (and adapt to the opportunities which followed the rapid advances in FIVR technology) lost revenue and faced going bust. Additionally, many travel firms took advantage of the reduction in the cost of space travel, such as excursions to the moon – even the middle-class can now enjoy vacations to lunar bases on the moon.

There are still problems with FIVR technology: it lacks intimate details and characteristics of environments, it can be hard to get a “true taste” for the local culture and the AI (artificial intelligence) is too insufficient to give a fully enriching experience. However, the graphics of FIVR has matured and the industry has overcome many of the limitations it once faced. With regards to FIVR environments, users can chose from a number of destinations all over the world, such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Efiel Tower in Paris. Once the user has immerged, they can explore the environment. These highly scalable 4-dimensional interactive environments are under constant refinement to improve the user experience. The success of augmented reality in the consumer market just over 20 years ago encouraged the development of full immersion virtual reality technologies. Augmented reality devices, such as Google glasses, allow the user to interact with virtual contents in the real world but allow the user to distinguish between the “virtual” and the real world. Virtual reality technologies are different, the user “fully immerges” and cannot distinguish between the real world and the virtual reality.


How it Works

Nanobots (blood cell sized devices) are placed in the human body and merged with the brain. The procedure is noninvasive and allows the user to ingest “self guided” devices – they travel through the body, locate the brain and attach to the visual and auditory neurons (the area of the brain responsible for auditory and visual processing). When the user wishes to submerge into a virtual reality, the nanobots suppress real world input signals and replaces them with the required virtual reality signals to simulate the virtual environment. The user is fully mobile and in control of their regular body functions – if the user wishes to move an arm brain2or leg, the nanobots suppress the neurochemical signals to prevent real movement and simulates the movement of the “virtual arm” or “virtual leg” within the simulated environment. Users can remain in a stationary position whilst engaging in physical activities. Nanobots are extremely safe and have been exposed to great volumes of testing. These highly secure devices conform to industry  standards and strict regulations. The limited capabilities of these devices means that they cause little/no harm (if user guidelines are followed) and can be removed at any time. FIVR became possible after mapping the human brain – biological brains have approximately one hundred trillion inter-neuronal connections and understanding how the brain works was fundamental to the advances in FIVR.


Surrounding Challenges

The failure of the leisure and tourism industry in the 2040’s is reminiscent of the failures of local retailers and high street shops during the turn of the century, when the internet and e-commerce revolutionised shopping. The success of e-commerce proved catastrophic for many local retailers and high street shops who failed to harness the power of the internet. Consider Blockbuster, the American-based home movie and video game rental service which was founded in the 1980’s. At its peak, in 2004, it had up to 60,000 employees. The peak of Blockbuster’s success coincided with the introduction of broadband to home & business throughout the Western world – by 2007, over half of UK homes had broadband installed, replacing narrowband services. With the introduction of broadband came the ability to share movies and music like never before. Both illegal pirating and legitimate on-demand internet streaming media companies, such as Netflix, led to Blockbuster going bust.

Similar to the damage online pirating caused to Hollywood and the music industry, thieves and hackers have pirated FIVR technologies and distributed them online. Many online communities have been established to develop open source (free) FIVR technologies. There are also “underground” hybridisation projects which are developing environments to combine the landmarks of multiple locations (such as joining a tropical coastline with the highlands of Scotland and the skyline of New York) and even fantasy environments which allow for users to experience intergalactic travel and interact with characters from Star Wars before participating in space battles. And this is exactly what makes the future of FIVR so promising – the democratizing power of the internet, combined with the distribution of smart devices and PCs, means that even a 12 year old boy in the mountains of Nepal can contribute to the development of FIVR.



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