It's only a matter of time before virtual reality takes the world by storm. The technology was ever-present at this year's E3 video game conference and big companies – such as Sony and Facebook (who recently acquired Oculus Rift) – have thrown their hats into the VR ring.
But what happens when virtual reality takes over real life? That's the question posed by a new independent film called Virtual Revolution.
Virtual Revolution takes place in the year 2047 — just 32 years into the future. Virtual reality has become the norm, with three quarters of the world's population spending its time online in virtual worlds.
The team behind Virtual Revolution is asking for your help in funding the film via IndieGoGo, with all proceeds going toward production costs. The more money raised, the greater the special effects and production value of the movie.
Director Guy-Roger Duvert discussed the goals of the film with Tech Times. He told us how the movie's content deals with something that – even today – has become a serious societal issue: the fact that many people spend the majority of their time online.
How would you describe Virtual Revolution?
Virtual Revolution is a cyberpunk movie. An interesting definition of cyberpunk is "high tech, low life." Cyberpunk stories often question the impact of technology on our societies. Authors of these stories generally show, at the same time, a distrust and a fascination towards these technologies. Here, the idea is to see where the rise of virtual reality can bring us.
Why do you want to make a cyberpunk/science fiction movie about virtual reality?
Because I am both afraid and fascinated. The film describes a society where 75 percent of the population spend all their time online and don't care about reality anymore. I gave it a lot of thought, and politically, economically, psychologically, even biologically, it totally makes sense that this should happen eventually. And personally, while I dislike the idea of seeing humankind become like vegetables connected to machines, I can't wait to try these virtual worlds when they finally exist!
What inspired the story behind Virtual Revolution?
An article I read in 2005. It was about an MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing games, like World of Warcraft) called Everquest 2, that I happened to have played a bit at the time. In the article, 25 percent of the players contacted admitted giving more importance to their virtual life in the game than to their real one. Twenty-five percent! And we are talking about an archaic game, with a 2D screen and basic interface (keyboard, mouse). This number will increase dramatically once virtual reality feels as real as reality! Which, according to Ray Kurzweil, should happen in the 2030s.
Do you feel that Virtual Revolution reflects part of society today, with everyone plugged in to social media?
Without hesitation. The way I see it, the revolution has slowly started already. For many people, their social network has become their new social life. It already happened that some people died starving or let their kids die while being online, above all in countries like South Korea, which seems more advanced in this area.
South Korea is a fascinating country in that matter. Because it shows what we should expect. For instance, the collusion between politics and economics on that subject. Seeing that being online was becoming an addiction for a part of the population and so it was becoming a state health issue, they tried to limit to 12 hours a day the connections. But they quickly realized that they couldn't: if they did, that would have had a dramatic impact on their economy, as a good part of it is based on technology, video games, etc.
Do you feel there's a real future danger of virtual reality taking over our daily lives?
Definitely. Actually, it is interesting to see that studies about what could bring down our civilization (volcano, virus, etc.) now sometimes include the fact that people escape reality into virtual worlds as a potential threat. So, for most of the population, yes — I am convinced that virtual reality will take over. Now, is that a bad thing? That's where I have troubles finding an answer. The film, while being an entertainment sci-fi movie, is also a way for me to express my interrogations.
What are your hopes for the production of the movie, should you reach and/or surpass your goal on Indiegogo?
We start shooting on August 18. But how we will shoot will depend on the amount of our financing secured by then. Production value is key for this kind of film, and we would like to preserve it. Also, there are some known actors we would like to add to our cast. So, the objective of the campaign is to bring some new funds through the campaign, but also to attract some new investors.