We’re in virtual reality. We’re both dogs. We’re sitting at a table playing poker. I start talking trash, and then I steal some of your chips. Things start to get ugly. Google VR designers said in a developer session at Google I/O that people could easily misunderstand each other in VR space, and good experiences could turn to bad ones quickly. In the poker game, Google made it so that if one player gets up from the table (to steal some chips, perhaps), the players can no longer see each other. It urged developers to build such safeguards into their social VR apps.
I can already imagine worse scenarios. Just imagine a Trump supporter and a Bernie Sanders supporter in the same virtual space together talking politics. In VR your “self” is represented by an avatar—your body—and your voice. You’re far more “present” and, probably, a lot more emotionally invested in the interaction. You see where I’m going, right?MS