Tag Archive: virtual reality

News in Tech: Virtual Reality and Robots

Pokémon GO is the new AR craze, but there’s a lot of other technology out there that is worth looking at. View full article »

Pokémon GO: Death, Drugs and Accidents

Pokémon GO has hit the world by storm, but like any new technology it’s a little… disruptive. View full article »

Poker VR and Entertainment

There’s been a certain amount of hype recently about Poker VR. Essentially, it is online virtual reality poker. Of all the places for VR to take hold, poker VR is not what I would have expected. This is not a poker blog, though, so we have to leave the intricacies of online poker for someone else. The interesting thing for us, however, is the motivation behind poker VR.

In essence, poker is a boring thing to watch. Having seen a few Youtube videos in preparation for this article, I can say that poker appears to be more interesting to play than to observe. For the most part, everyone is quietly staring at the table, some covering their faces with hoodies and sunglasses. They sit around for a while, then one makes a move. Then a bunch of chips get pushed around. That’s about it from a spectator perspective. No one is really interesting and things move slowly.

Oddly enough, this boredom isn’t just restricted to poker. Many people watch hockey for the fights. I myself spoke to a boxing trainer who pointed out that the best boxers are also the least interesting. They spend a lot of time and effort evading hits when it is simply more entertaining to barge in swinging. In that last sentences is the purpose behind poker VR; it’s not about poker, but entertainment.

Entertainment consumes everything

Consider some activity of interest. It could be arranging matchsticks, for all that it matters. Now consider a web series on arranging matchsticks. The former is an activity that some people do for some reason. The other is entertainment. The idea of arranging matchsticks is just the flavor with which the entertainment is presented.

It’s like this for a lot of things. When ESPN airs the World Series of Poker, they’re not really airing poker games. They’re airing entertainment that uses poker games at the distinguishing flavor (for lack of a better term). Sports are like this as well. Football has to be entertaining or no one would watch it. Boxing, Tennis, even Chess. There has to be something to hook people or else the entertainment stops working as a product and goes away. When was the last time you watched a chess tournament on ESPN?

Thinking in these terms, poker VR isn’t an evolution of poker in the Internet Age. It’s a gimmick. One that the entertainment community grasped for because poker itself is not very interesting to watch. Thanks to tournaments like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, there is a huge amount of money in the poker world. It’s worth the investment of coming up with this kind of gimmickry. It gets people into the gaming who might not otherwise be interested. What does it do for the veterans? Maybe nothing. I don’t think hardcore poker players would care. Perhaps it will get more people in to take money from.

One thing is for sure, however. This isn’t real poker. It’s just entertainment.

A general discussion on the ideas behind the film Transcendence

When I originally saw the trailer for Transcendence, my initial thought was that I was watching “The Lawnmower Man, Part Depp”. The Lawnmower Man is of course the cult film of the early 90s in which Jobe, a mentally deficient gardener is subject to an experiment involving psychotropic drugs and virtual reality. In the process he becomes intelligent to a superhuman degree and is eventually able to embed himself in the virtual world and from there take over the real world.

The upcoming film Transcendence jumps straight to the insertion into the virtual world. On further inspection, of course, the film is quite different from The Lawnmower Man in both premise and direction. It simply uses similar tropes. This led to some thoughts on the subject of artificial intelligence and transferring human consciousness to a computer. Read on for more.

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