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Virtual Reality Tours Could Be the Holidays of the Future

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Futuristic predictions such as pilotless planes and 3D printed plane food in addition to the use of virtual reality may be part of our holiday experiences by 2035, according to a new report by travel website Expedia.

According to the travel company’s latest report, Holiday of the Future, people may soon be turning their attention to virtual reality (VR) as a way of finding holiday inspiration instead of relying on information from friends and family.

The use of VR means that interested individuals can try a country out before buying a plane ticket to their chosen destination. With the use of technology through the Oculus Rift headsets, people have a unique opportunity to interact with their holiday surroundings from the comfort of their home.

Rachael Power from Virtual Reality News told Expedia that:

Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel. People can ‘try before they buy’ by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way.

It also opens doors to those less able or who might not be able to afford holidays.

Rachael added:

It also shakes things up for those who are immobile or on smaller budgets; the view from Machu Picchu is now simply the cost of a Google Cardboard headset away.

Changing How We Pay for Holidays

The report mentions that futurologists predict that a crypto-economy could be feasible in the future, allowing people to exchange goods without banks or currencies getting involved.

As the digital currency bitcoin continues to grow in our day-to-day lives with sites such as Expedia accepting the currency as payment, it may not be too long before paying in fiat currency becomes a thing of the past.

Robots at Your Service

Some future predictions are already in existence such as the use of robots with the technology already in use in Asia.

In the Expedia report, it mentions how scientists at the University of Cornell have invented a robot that can predict when you’re hungry, refill your cup, and even open doors.

It may be some time, however, before the use of robots are readily available to the masses.

Pilotless Planes and 3D Plane Food

Other predictions mentioned in the Expedia report include pilotless planes and 3D plane food.

Cockpit

While the mere thought of a plane without a pilot may be daunting, this type of technology already exists with the use of driverless cars.

In 2013, technology company BAE Systems flew a Jetstream aircraft, with passengers onboard and no pilot, across U.K. airspace. Once in the air, the ‘Flying Test Bed’ flight was completely automated.

Ben Kepes, a self-confessed technology evangelist explained to Expedia that:

Pilotless planes and point-to-point travel without much of the hassle of existing transiting paradigms will become the norm.

With planes comes in-flight food. This, of course, has never been too exciting, but according to Expedia ‘the future flyer could be offered an array of organic meals that are tailored to dietary requirements.’

Passengers could have the opportunity of designing their own menu, with many believing that the ability to print your own 3D food in-flight will become an option.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Business

Lloyds Bank to Use Virtual Reality for Graduate Programme Intake

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The Lloyds Banking Group is taking a different approach toward its 2017 graduate intake by using virtual reality to test the reactions of potential candidates.

Every year, Lloyds receives more than 20,000 applications from graduate applicants. Each of them is seeking a place on one of 14 placements in its Graduate Leadership Programmes. Naturally, undertaking such a mammoth task of going through each of the 20,000 applications takes a lot of time. Not only that, but reading something on paper doesn’t always demonstrate what a person can be like in real life.

lloyds-bank

In order to tackle this issue, the bank has reported that it will be utilizing virtual reality on the candidates who are interested in joining its digital and IT programmes. Each candidate will undertake a virtual reality situation that would not be possible in a conventional test, according to Finextra.

According to the report, each candidate will be immersed within a 360-degree virtual world where they will be presented with puzzles that have been designed to highlight their strengths and abilities while also pinpointing future leaders.

Chris Jackson, performance, talent & development director, said:

Adopting virtual reality into the assessment process demonstrates the Group’s commitment to digital transformation.

What is VR and AR?

Virtual reality (VR) is a three-dimension, computer-generated environment where a person can explore and interact in a location without physically being there through the use of a headset. In 2014, Facebook, which bought Oculus Rift for billion, was proclaimed as the VR technology that would change everything. It was reported that VR would ‘be used for all sorts of activities from gaming to business and education.’

Not only that, but according to travel website Expedia, how we travel in the future could all change with the use of VR as virtual reality tours become the holidays of the future. Through the use of a VR tour a person can experience the delights of far-away places without leaving the comfort of their home.

Interestingly, enough, though, a recent New Scientist article questions whether VR will ever have mainstream appeal. According to the article, if you believe the hype, 2016 is supposed to be the year of VR after it burned out in the 1990s. With the likes of Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR, recently released, finally on the market, it seems people are thinking of ways how these devices can fit into their lives.

But, even if it does become mainstream, how will people use it? It would certainly be a niche thing for VR to become popular, possibly targeting live sports channels where individuals could watch a game on the sidelines of their favorite team.

Of course, with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, stating that VR will have a slow start before taking off, it’s possible that more attention will focus on augmented reality (AR) instead.

As the opposite of VR, AR provides a user with a view of the real world through a computer-generated image that they can see in real time. Think of the popular Pokémon Go, as what many consider the first AR application to gain mass appeal. This AR app is the first example that connects the physical and digital worlds together.

Of course, while Tim Cook, Apple CEO says that AR and VR could encourage human contact, whether most of us will be sitting down with a headset strapped to our faces or seeing a computer-generated image in real time through AR in the next few years, remains to be seen.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Entertainment

Apple CEO Tim Cook Wants Augmented and Virtual Reality Tech to “Encourage” Human Contact

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So far, Apple has been the slowest of the big boys to getting an augmented or virtual reality product to market. The company’s iPhone is the single most popular smart phone on the planet and its computer products enjoy relative popularity (in early 2014, they were almost 9% of the market, a quadrupling from turn-of-the-century numbers). On a trip to Tokyo this week, CEO Tim Cook told BuzzFeed that he believes there is “no substitute for human contact. And so you want the technology to encourage that.”

Tim Cook

Cook also said he thinks augmented reality can be “huge.” And if the numbers from the recent phenomenon of Pokémon Go are any indication, he’s absolutely right. Apple’s various platforms add up to a big opportunity, but their phones in particular could pave the way for the company making a serious play in the augmented and virtual reality space.

In many ways, modern humans are already experiencing many of the things previously only dreamed of in science fiction. One can walk down the street and have a video call with someone a thousand miles away. Perhaps the next step on this path will be the spectre of hologram calls. Back in 2013, Skype told the BBC that it was already capable of as much. Apple would certainly make waves if it were the first major platform to make this Star Wars-esque technology an everyday reality.

Other potential exists on the hologram front. Video entertainment and gaming could reach a whole new level. The Apple TV is one of the less successful ventures the company has ever launched, but the advent of holographic television shows taking place in one’s living room might revive interest.

Apple store logo sign

Apple has made a number of acquisitions that point in the direction of holographic, augmented, and virtual reality technology. The company which created the original Microsoft Xbox Kinect sensors, PrimeSense, is now owned by Apple, along with Faceshift, who provided real-time motion capturing for Star Wars productions. The two main reasons to acquire a company are either to stop it from competing with you or to make use of its assets, and Apple presently has no major dog in the augmented reality/virtual reality fight. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that somewhere in Cupertino, someone is working on something for the future.

Cook also said that he doesn’t think virtual reality is as “broad-based” as augmented reality. The company has been in meetings with immersive technology companies such as Jaunt, a company which makes films compatible with virtual reality technology. Cook seems most interested in the communication aspect of AR and VR, saying that conversations could be made more productive.

I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier.

Perhaps Cook, like many, fears a future of people walking around with helmets, totally immune to their surroundings, and would rather find ways to boost traditional communication and technological capabilities. More of a Google Glass than an Oculus approach to the thing, as it were. In any case, it does seem that virtual reality, augmented reality, and even holographic communications are just around the bend for consumers.

It’s important to remember that just a decade ago, a smart phone in every pocket was hard to imagine, so the rise of these technologies could happen faster than anyone expects. The success of Pokémon Go was only a preview of things to come.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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Politics

The US Presidential Elections Brings Virtual Reality to the Spotlight

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AltspaceVR - Presidential Debate 2016

There are many options to watch tonight’s first U.S. Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Virtual reality is among them.

The debate will be broadcast by the major networks and cable channels, and webcast via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter live streaming. There is also a high-tech option: you can strap your Oculus Rift or Gear VR on and watch the debate in Virtual Reality (VR) via Altspace VR, in partnership with NBC News.

AltspaceVR is a social VR company that offers 3D virtual meeting places to users equipped with VR goggles such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or HTC Vive. For old-fashioned, second-class users without VR equipment, there are “flat” 2D versions of Altspace VR for Windows and OSX. Flat 2D in the Second Life sense: PC users can walk around, interact and talk to others, but they’ll miss the full immersion fun. The VRcast of the debate will be little more than a video webcast in a social VR space – you shouldn’t expect to shake virtual hands with the candidates’ avatars, or push hem around – but it will be a preview of things to come.

So the 2016 US presidential elections will have a place in history as the first elections in VR. But these presidential elections are also among the most intense and heated in history, and now the political debate is leaking into the world of VR tech development.

Does Oculus Rift Creator Palmer Luckey Support Donald Trump?

Palmer Luckey wearing an Oculus Rift.

Palmer Luckey wearing an Oculus Rift.

A few days ago The Daily Beast reported that Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey is financing “an unofficial Donald Trump group dedicated to ‘shitposting’ and circulating internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton.”

The group, which goes by Nimble America, was announced on the subreddit “The Donald” – one of the largest Trump support groups online – a few days ago. “Announcing Nimble America, Inc., a social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit dedicated to shitposting in real life,” said the announcement. The post was later deleted, but a cached copy is available. “We believe that America has been lead by poor leaders who have abandoned American principles and sold out all Americans. With the right leadership America will reverse its course towards mediocrity and globalism, becoming great again.”

One of the first actions claimed by the group was posting a billboard in Pittsburgh with a Clinton cartoon and the words “Too Big to Jail.” Luckey admitted that he has been financing the group, to which he was introduced by Alt-Right icon Milo Yiannopoulos.

The Nimble America website isn’t responding at this moment. Perhaps it is under a DDoS attack? What is certain is that a lot of people are mad at them. Motherboard reports that many virtual reality game developers intend to stop supporting Facebook’s Oculus Rift until Luckey steps down.

In a Facebook post, Luckey admits that he contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because he thought the organization had fresh ideas. Contrary to what has been reported by Motherboard and other news media, Luckey’s doesn’t “apologize” for his ideas but claims personal responsibility, trying to shield Oculus VR and Facebook from predictable attacks.

My actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.

“The news shocked the VR and tech community at large on Thursday night, but a look at Luckey’s Twitter activity reveals that he’s been openly in support of the alt-right and the bigotry that defines it since March,” says another Motherboard post.

These strong words are typical of Silicon Valley’s widespread condemnation of the Alt-Right and Donald Trump. It may seems odd that the tech community takes such a passionate stance against a politician. A possible explanation is that Trump is seen to represent the old world of manufacturing and its uneducated workforce against the new world of computer technology and its Silicon Valley elites. This is a war between the America of atoms and the America of bits, suggested a Newsweek op-ed. This seems to make sense: political positions are often motivated by financial interests rather than ideological convictions.

There are, however, notable exceptions to Silicon Valley’s opposition to Trump. Also, not all tech developers are attacking Luckey. James Green, co-founder of VR developer Carbon Games, thinks the backlash is nonsense:

I absolutely support him doing whatever he wants politically if it’s legal. To take any other position is against American values.

Images from NBC News, AltspaceVR, and Wikimedia Commons.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.




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