The metaverse and STR

I’ve previously speculated here about “virtual vacations.” One thread here:

There are many people for whom that is their idea of hell. Maybe discretionary/vacation travel will become a hyper elitist thing that only the very rich can indulge. I don’t have an opinion on if it’s good or bad yet. If my brain can be stimulated to feel exactly the same whether I’m physically in a place or not,I’m not sure I care. And if I can have that experience and reduce my footprint on the globe and not contribute to the destruction of remaining pristine spots, why not?

It seems that this technology could really shake up the travel industry. Is this article behind a paywall?


But there is nothing like travel to expand appreciation that no human is “foreign,” we are all in this together.


I understand that. But I’m intrigued by the effect this technology can have on the brain.

Very few Americans actually do the kind of travel that would help foster a better world, it’s really the sphere of the relatively wealthy. Tourism is extremely elitist and those of us who do it need to accept that uncomfortable truth. But if more people could put on a headset and visit Auschwitz, plantations, a Vietnamese rice paddy, Central America and Mexico… maybe be could chip away at a few more biases.

If your brain doesn’t know if you are physically there or not, why can’t virtual tourism change minds?


I don’t see how virtual reality could replace actual encounters and interactions between travelers and the people they meet along the way. Which seems to me to be one of the most valuable things about travelling, unless one is the type to just go on all- inclusive type holidays where they never come into contact with locals, except the ones catering to them as waiters and maids.

If I had a dollar for every person in history that said that. LOL. And that’s not meant as a criticism. I could easily argue the anti tech side of this. For me the appeal is opening the value of traveling to more people and making it less elitist.

The article opens with the author being shown CGI actors that are indistinguishable from live people. Virtual tourism could absolutely have people in it. And once the technology exists to stimulate taste and smell you can even “eat” foreign foods and smell the cherry blossoms in spring.

It’s all about the effect on the brain. Anyone who has ever had a vivid dream life should have no problem imagining what virtual trips could be like. Perhaps even hallucinogenic drug users would relate but I can’t speak to that from experience.

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I’m certainly not saying it couldn’t be cool and have value. Just that I don’t think that a virtual experience is the same as the real thing.


I hope I live long enough to find out. I’m hoping that when physical limitations keep me from traveling and other things I love, I’ll still be able to stimulate my brain with new technology.


For me it’s not real if I can’t visit a local market and try the street food. I travel to experience the reality, and the smells and tastes of a place are as important to making it real as the look and even feel.

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