The director behind the upcoming film adaptation of Ready Player One is making some bleak predictions about what lies in store for us in the decades to come.
While the rest of us are still waiting for Steven Spielberg's vision of creepy AI children to come true, the legendary director has moved on to imagining how other real-world technologies will affect society. "Virtual reality will be a super drug," he said in a new video promoting Ready Player One, which is set to release in the U.S. on March 30.
Based on Ernest Cline's beloved novel, Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian future where people are hooked on digital fantasies. Spielberg sets the scene for how this technological takeover happens, explaining that "the fabric of our economy is crumbling. It's a good time to escape."
Presumably referring to the current rise of VR tech like the Oculus Rift, Spielberg adds, "I suddenly saw a future that Ernest Cline, the writer of the book, envisioned. It wasn't too far away from what I think is going to happen someday."
Cline is also featured in the behind-the-scenes look, explaining how Spielberg actually inspired much of his novel, which published in 2011. Like the main character in his book, Cline is also obsessed with 1980s culture — which Spielberg had a big part in creating through his filmmaking.
The First Commercial VR Devices – The EyePhone Head-Mounted Displays. In the late 1960s, the virtual and augmented reality terms were coined, describing the field of technology we know today. This also encompassed the appearance of two of the very first commercial virtual reality devices in the 1980s in the face of the EyePhone 1 and the EyePhone HRX. Developed by VPL research, a company by Jaron Lanier, the devices were extremely expensive, costing as much as $9,400 for the 1 version and $49,000 for the HRX. Customers could also buy gloves that costed $9,000. While the devices didn’t really take off, which is understanding, having in mind their price, they were a major step forward in the development of virtual reality haptics and virtual reality goggles and head-mounted displays.
In the ouroboros of inspiration that was Cline and Spielberg's overlapping visions of the past and future, they hit upon the perfect collaboration for movie magic.
Of course, the veracity of their technological predictions remains to be seen. Many have critiqued both creators for imagining a future strictly defined by straight white fanboy fantasies — like the nerdy '80s vision of the Oasis video game Cline describes as "the ultimate toy box."
But if our technology (like VR) continues to predominantly be made by straight white men, their dystopian vision of 2045 may come true after all.