With technology changing a mile a minute, it can often feel like we’re living in a sci-fi movie. There’s no doubt the future is upon us, and new innovations are constantly changing the way we do just about everything. Take for example the metaverse — a new virtual world made up of elements of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) that has been referred to as “the future of the internet.”
The metaverse can be used for anything from meeting new people to shopping for clothes or even investing in real estate, which is already selling for millions.
The Virtual Reality Market Is Booming
To put things in perspective, the global VR, AR and mixed reality (MR) market is expected to balloon to almost $300 million by 2024, according to Statista. This gives us a small glimpse into what the future of VR could hold, and just how big of a role it will play in society moving forward.
While the concept of VR may convince you that we’re headed for a world void of physical contact, the technology hasn’t taken over the world just yet. However, VR has the potential to make some very real positive impacts on the world as we know it, and in many ways, it already has.
How Virtual Reality Could Change Society
Here are five ways VR could fundamentally change society for the better:
1. VR Could Improve the Way We Detect and Treat Illness
VR for healthcare was valued at $2 billion in 2020, and it’s estimated to reach $42.84 billion by 2028. In other words, VR has an endless number of potential use cases in the healthcare arena. This includes everything from treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) to easing post-surgery pain. The possibilities are truly infinite — there’s no telling what healthcare practitioners will accomplish using this technology.
2. Virtual Reality Could Revolutionize the Dating World
In terms of dating, VR will be the next logical step in the evolution of how people meet, date and interact with one another on a romantic level. While there will always be a need to spend time together in person (for obvious reasons), VR will make it even easier to determine whether you have a connection with someone before meeting up IRL given its immersive nature.
3. VR Has the Power to Increase Empathy
By immersing users in a full-on sensory and emotive experience, VR has the power to appeal to our humanity and activate a greater sense of empathy for those who are struggling. This aspect of VR ultimately has the potential to be used for good or evil, but for humanitarian organizations, it could help to drive donations and engage more people to give back and support a good cause.
4. VR Could Create New Training and Education Opportunities
In terms of education, VR represents a whole new world of opportunities, especially for people living in rural communities or people experiencing poverty. Virtual reality will be especially useful in hands-on training sessions needed for industries like healthcare, construction or the skilled trades.
5. Virtual Reality Could Uplevel Online Shopping
The retail industry is another area that will be transformed by VR in the future as brands get creative and upgrade the customer experience. Imagine a world where you can enjoy all the convenience of shopping online while still benefitting from the sensory experience of trying things on in person — this could eventually become the norm thanks to VR.