A leading scientist from Facebook owned company Oculus, virtual reality (VR) specialists who set out to help us understand the world we live in, and provide a sense of what a world filled with virtual reality might be like. He explains that virtual reality can be best depicted by the film The Matrix in which humans experience the world in a simulated reality. With this, and the recent ‘blue and black’ or ‘gold and white’ dress internet sensation in mind, a number of incidences centring on optical illusions and the perspective they give to the world have come to light.
Leading scientists of Oculus, Michael Abrash spoke recently in a seminar, he made the bold (yet informed) assertion that we as humans are merely ‘inference machines’ that live in a world that is little more than an illusion. Mr Abrash explain how we cannot define what is ‘real’, and goes on to quote Morpheus from the Matrix:
'If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.’
This is a quote that Mr Abrash feels epitomises the ‘virtual reality’ world we live in today. He continues with another theory inspired by the Matrix film whereby Morpheus infers that our conscious minds never actually interact with the ‘real world’, but rather we react with sensors in our eyes, ears, tongue and various other parts of our body. He claimed that this ‘was just a very small subset of the real world’, and in fact, we could be missing out on a considerable amount of ‘reality’ because of this.
One of the main examples Mr Abrash gave was vision. Humans only have 3 colour sensors meaning even if we could absorb and sort all of the photons out there, we would still have too little data to reconstruct the world accurately. Quite simply, this means that we only see what our sensors allow us to see, and in the way that they make us see them. A pertinent and timely example of this is the ‘black and blue’ or ‘white and gold’ dress phenomenon which saw the worlds opinion split straight down the middle. If everything we see is cut and dry, then why were some people seeing something that was actually black and blue… as white and gold!?
The red and blue pill experiment
Check this out…
Simply by looking at the two images, which hand is holding the blue pill? Is it the one on the right, or the one on the left?
Astonishingly neither of the hands are holding a blue pill, this experiment is merely another example of how we as a species fall victim to inferences and optical illusions…both pills are in fact grey.
The colour of the pills is simply what the brain perceives them to be based on the information surrounding them. Interestingly, even when we know that the pills are grey they still appear as blue and red.
Mr Abrash went on to give various other examples of this ‘optical illusion’ that we all succumb to, but ultimately he left us with a rather unnerving question…if given the choice, would you live in a virtual reality world that is similar to that of the Matrix…or would you stick with what you have now? I know what I would do!
Mail Online, (2015). Do you see a red pill or a blue pill? Facebook reveals optical illusions that fool the brain into thinking virtual reality is REAL. Retrieved 31st March, 2015, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3018215/Facebook-says-world-ILLUSION-one-day-live-Matrix-like-reality.html#ixzz3VyJZPEEf