Reality 2.0: welcome to the hyperreal
The concept of hyperreality is rapidly gaining momentum across the film and entertainment world as viewers demand increasingly immersive experiences.
Hyperreality is the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. A state in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there’s no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.
More than just an idea
Looking back to the origin of the word, French sociologist Jean Baudrillard first imagined hyperreality with a rather dystopian view. He envisioned a world in which we craved reality, but sourced it through false fabrications and consumed those as real instead.
The actuality of hyperreality is far less foreboding. We are finding that the emergence of new immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality, is creating opportunities that will enrich – rather than diminish – our lives.
nearly a third of people believe that real-world experiences will eventually be replaced by virtual ones
Research conducted by Foundry found that nearly a third of people believe that real-world experiences will eventually be replaced by virtual ones, which shows just how accustomed consumers are becoming towards a more virtual way of life.
With immersive environments proving more and more popular with VR users, it is unsurprising that the concept of hyperreality is creating so much noise.
Hyperreal is here to stay
Advancements in computer-generated imagery that make the digital world seem hyperreal are relatively common within the Hollywood films we see every day.
Brands like Galaxy and Dior have brought deceased stars like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe back to life through visual effects that are so realistic, you can barely decipher which actors are real and which are digital.
Where we are beginning to see the most change is in our everyday experiences, outside of film, television and gaming. The blend of physical and virtual reality is impacting other industry sectors, transforming healthcare, education and numerous creative industries among others.
For example, hyperreality is making big waves in the retail industry, with industry giants like Amazon and Ikea turning to virtual and augmented reality to transform consumer shopping experiences.
we are beginning to see the most change in our everyday experiences
Not only is this technology allowing us to walk the aisles of virtual superstores, it is also blending virtual experiences with real-life shopping. AR is allowing consumers to see digital information overlaid onto real products, meaning you’ll never have to search for the price tag again.
Within healthcare, hyperreality is transforming visual learning, allowing aspiring surgeons to train in hyperreal scenarios that better reflect the process of real-life surgery. Through the use of VR and AR, surgeons are now able to retrace the steps of recorded surgeries, creating simulations that are closer than ever to the real thing.
The use of hyperreality in therapy is also allowing people to overcome and treat phobias or trauma through visualisation. Imagine you have a terrible fear of flying, visual simulations are now so lifelike that therapists are able to help patients overcome their fears within their comfort zones. For this new iteration of immersive technology, the sky is the limit.
Futuristic is now
To many, the idea of merging the outside world with a virtual one still seems like a concept from a sci-fi blockbuster, but hyperreality is very real and on the rise.
Technological advancements in immersive technology are blurring the distinction between reality as we know it, and what we consider virtual. We are entering an age where the virtual and digital world is becoming more real than real.