Virtual Socializing

With interactive possibilities of VRML and the web, electronic socializing could be much more enjoyable as more realistic representations gave one the ability to perform from home many of the day-to-day tasks that one faces. As well as the social opportunities for computer-bound individuals, other common tasks that take place in a social environment, virtual shopping in a mall complete with mall rats, for example, would also be possible.

However, there is also much concern on how this could affect the nature of interpersonal relationships. As with most uncertain aspects of the future, there are two distinct schools of thought on this subject. On one hand, there is the group of people that have a utopian view of the future, where VR will be used as a tool for improving communication and making our lives easier and more efficient.

Many people take a more negative, Blade Runner-esque perspective, where Virtual reality will become the drug of the future. In this view, people would neglect their social responsibilities, and the VR web would become a morally and socially corrupt space where users were simply in search of pleasure. The human race would essentially stop progressing and would stagnate and eventually collapse.

It is unlikely that either of these views are correct. This type of situation has presented itself many times in the past. For example, many people thought that television would lead people to never leave their homes, or stop reading books. We all know that this is not the case. In all likelihood, there will be some people that abuse VR, but the majority of people will require the complete sensations of human interaction. It is up to the people to decide whether the technology will be bane or blessing.

In summary, socializing on the net could include: