Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life

Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life

by Peter Rubin

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Overview

A Wired senior editor and virtual reality expert presents a captivating, candid glimpse into the future "realities" of this emerging technology: how we will use it to form previously impossible relationships, explore new frontiers of intimacy, and how it will forever change human connection.

Heralded as the most significant technological innovation since the smartphone, virtual reality is poised to transform our very notions of life and humanity. Though this tech is still in its infancy, to those on the inside, it is the future. VR will change how we work, how we experience entertainment, how we feel pleasure and other emotions, how we see ourselves, and most importantly, how we relate to each other in the real world. And we will never be the same.

Peter Rubin, senior culture editor for Wired and the industry’s go-to authority on the subject, calls it an "intimacy engine." While once we needed another person to feel the sensations of closeness, trust, vulnerability, confidence, and titillation, VR will give us the ability to induce these sensations by ourselves for the first time in human history. This metamorphosis, Rubin argues, is going to have a powerful impact on relationships that will ripple throughout our society and our individual lives.

A journey into this uncertain future and a glimpse at the cultural implications and promises of a new reality, Future Presence explores a host of complex questions about what makes us human, what connects us, and what is real. Offering a glimpse into the mind-blowing things happening in universities, labs, and tech companies around the world, Rubin leads readers on an entertaining tour of the weirdest, wildest corners of this fascinating new universe. Describing this book as "half travelogue and half crystal ball", Rubin will:

  • Introduce readers to the creators and consumers of VR technology
  • Show readers what an experience is like inside the current VR devices
  • Explain how this technology will upend everything we know about human connection in the future

At once the incredible, inevitable story of virtual reality’s rise and a look towards the future of our fantasies, Future Presence is a deeply personal examination of what connects us, and an analysis of what relationships, empathy, and sex could look like—sooner than we think.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062566690
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/17/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 503,535
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Peter Rubin leads WIRED’s editorial efforts on digital platforms and oversees culture coverage in the magazine and online. He covers virtual reality extensively, having written the magazine’s June 2014 cover story on Oculus; he has broken a number of stories centered on the emergent platform; and he continues to make frequent media and panel appearances discussing the technology (as well as general pop culture). Rubin’s writing has also appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Rolling Stone, Complex, Vibe, Glamour, Details, and many other outlets.

Table of Contents

Introduction Welcome to Virtual Reality 1

1 Presence What It Is, Where to Find It, How to Stay There 19

2 Alone on a Mountaintop How "In Here" Helps "Out There" 41

3 Hedgehog Love Engineering Feelings with Social Presence 61

4 Empathy vs. Intimacy Why Good Stories Need Someone Else 83

5 What to do and who to do it with How Social VR Is Reinventing Everything from Game Night to Online Harassment 107

6 The Starry Night that Wasn't There Social Media, Intimacy, and the Memory of Experience 129

7 Rec Room Confidential The Anatomy and Evolution of VR Friendship 149

8 Reach out and Touch Someone Haptics, Tactile Presence, and Making VR Physical 165

9 XXX-Change Program Turning Porn Back into People 195

10 Where We're Going, We Don't Need Headsets Let's Get Speculative 221

Conclusion When Hindsight is 2020 What Life in 2028 Might Actually Look Like 235

Acknowledgments 241

References 245

Index 265

About the Author 281

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