What If The OASIS Was Real & Would It Be a Good Thing?
Everyone wants and deserves a little escape every now and then. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. We’re all overworked and underpaid. We understand how stress affects us more now than any other time in history. And it’s ironic that for most of us our most common escape – or at least tool used for escape – is often the very same item that brings upon most of our stresses in the first place. I’m talking about the Internet.
Now the actual history of the Internet is a bit sketchy. Al Gore jokingly said that he invented it a while back but I think the true origin of the Internet actually goes all the way back to the late 1960s as a way for different military branches to stay in synch with what’s going on regarding national security. I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that. Once again, I digress…
I had written a few posts already a while back regarding this amazing book I read (and continue to re-read) called Ready Player One. In the book there’s a super immersive virtual reality online world called The OASIS. OASIS stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. It’s a really big fancy way of saying Interactive Virtual Reality. If you haven’t read the book, (which I strongly recommend you do) let me try to describe it for you.
Think of the Holodeck from Star Trek. Wait, that’s not quite it…
Think of the game World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG… that’s not quite it either.
Think of eBay or any other online marketplace… wait, no.
Think of Virtual Homeschooling… no.
Think of when people go to work remotely (telecommute)… wait, no.
Think of Facebook… okay, wait.
Think of being plugged into The Matrix… okay, stop.
IT’S LIKE ALL OF THE ABOVE ROLLED INTO ONE… TO START!
Now what if that were real??? Well, let’s not kid ourselves, everything I just mentioned already is real. It’s just a matter of time before someone is determined and insane enough to mesh it all into one like the OASIS. I should also note that in the book, that joining the OASIS (creating a profile/avatar) cost a one-time fee of 25 cents! No monthly or yearly memberships/accounts to renew or keep going. You’re only allowed one profile per person and it’s illegal to create any extras. Sure hackers can try (and possibly succeed) but the instant the servers find out, you’re banned for life. Considering the importance the OASIS serves, that could be pretty devastating.
So let’s discuss about the pros if/when this were to be a thing of reality. Right off the bat, a benefit would be the ability to telecommute or “login” to work from wherever you are, whenever you are. This means no having to waste time, money, and fuels/natural resources getting to and from the workplace. This would obviously cut down tremendously on pollution to the environment, preserve precious resources, and even minimize-and maybe even eliminate-office drama.
Another benefit of doing everything through the OASIS is just the fact that you can go from one place to another to another online without ever having to change websites. I know that sounds minor. I mean how long does it take for you to type in a web address on your browser? Hell, most of us have our favorites or most visited ones preset on our toolbar. Now add all those seconds you spent clicking on or typing in web addresses when you were looking for the perfect gift, or trying to login to your school email, etc. Add all that up over a period of YEARS!! Think of the time you’d save if everything were really seamlessly in one place.
Alright so now the cons because you know they’re out there. If (or when) we live in a time where absolutely everything is done on a singular online system and it’s gotten to the point where everything else has become obsolete, think of all the jobs that would be lost. “Snail mail” really would be obsolete and private delivery companies would have to be hired for anything and everything you need to have delivered to your home in person, no matter how small. Then of course, there’s the actual Internet service required to be able to run the OASIS properly. The book does mention how Wade (the hero) has to deal with being poor and how his connectivity with OASIS was spotty at best. Undoubtedly with the importance it serves, the federal government would have to step in to ensure that everyone has a decent online connection so that even low-income families can login for work, school, etc. How much will that cost the tax payers?
Clearly I’m over-thinking all of this to extremely nerdy proportions, but am I really that far off? I don’t think so. The Internet was connected in my house when I was about 13 years old. Back then everyone had dial-up connection, it would use up the phone line, and it would take about 60 seconds to open Yahoo’s Homepage. Back then the very thought of Facebook was still eight years away. That was 17 years ago. Boy I feel old…
Do you think we’ll have an OASIS of our own in the real world? Will it be good for us or bad for us? Are we going to take the red pill or the blue pill when it comes to moving forward any further in communication technologies? I’m very curious to hear everyone’s feedback.