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Matt Crosslin

Intelligent AI Virtual Reality Worlds That Anyone Can Develop?

2 min read

Virtual Reality seems to be everywhere these days - commercials, game systems, schools (well, a few at least), etc. Behind the hype are some serious concerns (many of which are covered in this somewhat bleeped language honest trailer for PlayStation VR that Justin shared with us). If we really want to look at VR for education, I think we need to look past games and into other applications. The passive nature of much VR content is a big barrier to really being useful. As the Honest Trailer points out, you sit a lot. Connecting AI to VR could help eliminate some of the passive issues, but then you add a layer of concern that comes along with AI (who programmed it, for what purpose, and what are the implications of those decisions on the user?). For me, I would say the best way to bring VR into education is to find a way to let learners create their own simulations (including programming their own AI). But that is expensive and impossible at this point. But hopefully that will be changing. The news last week that Google will be partnering with Improbable is a step in the right direction. Improbable basically looks to be a way that will let users create their own virtual worlds populated with AI in various ways. Of course, both are trying to make money and advertise services off the deal. But if the idea of creating your own AI-driven virtual world can catch on (again? remember Second Life?), maybe other more user-friendly options will emerge. The video above is talking about the engine behind this partnership called SpatialOS. The video looks mostly at games but also peppers in some other references to the wider uses for SpatialOS that might be more applicable for education. However, instead of thinking Matrix, people need to start thinking Ready Player One, and the good and bad that comes along with that.