Chris Hardwick made it his life’s business to talk about the nerdy things he loves most when he co-founded Nerdist Industries over four years ago. Now, Hardwick is seen across a variety of TV shows, most notably Talking Dead, the recap talk show that follows each new episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. It should come as no surprise then given his background that he is an avid gamer, lover of D&D, and consumer of virtual reality content. That last bit, the VR love, also comes with a certain degree of trepidation.
“Ever since the movie Lawnmower Man, we’ve been promised that there’d be this virtual wonder-scape that we could exist in,” Hardwick tells Glixel in a recent interview. “I do think there are dangers to it because the world is a dirty place and VR can be engineered to be everything we want it to be. Why would you ever leave that if you’re just constantly being stimulated in the most pleasurable way possible?”
It’s a valid concern, especially if you’ve followed sci-fi pop culture in recent years at all. The dystopian worlds of The Matrix, Ready Player One, and others all feed into this collective sense of simulations being better than real life. An eventual move towards that reality feels a bit too close for comfort for a lot of people with the dawn of consumer-grade virtual reality hardware already upon us.
“I feel like we’re already predisposed to want to detach from reality,” Hardwick elaborates. “I hope the good outweighs the bad. I mean, I believe that it does, but just knowing the nature of humans, I think it’s going to be a problem. I think people will really have to go to meetings for VR addiction. If it’s full-sensory immersive, then I think we’re kind of fucked as a species.”
But don’t worry — he’s not trying to falsely proclaim any irrational fears. That sort of full-sensory experience that he wards about, something similar to that of the aforementioned fictional worlds, is a long ways off. And ultimately he doesn’t want to undermine the great things that VR could lead to down the line.
“Listen, I’m welcoming the change,” Hardwick explains. “I’m excited about it. I have a couple of VR units. We’re really only just tickling the surface of it, too. The great thing about technology now versus when I was growing up is that the world is sort of open source. People are going to figure out ways to use it that even the creators had never dreamed of. It’s going to be interesting.”
With VR’s first year of consumer-ready availability almost in the books, it will certainly be “interesting” to see what our budding industry has in store for upcoming years.
Featured Image: Collider