AI-based VR Gaming as addiction — Ready Player One (2018)

Ready Player One produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts, a teenager in a ravaged future in 2044, in which people escape their grim real lives by escaping into a virtual reality world of the “OASIS.”

FACIT:   “Ready Player One” focuses on arcana, facts and fads from the 80s. Not our subject.  But the film will be served to consumers both on public screens as well as on (addictive) VR headsets at launch in 2018 — 27 years before the films time frame 2044.  From the plot summary it seems that most people depicted in this, yet another dystopian, apocalyptic film, are unemployed in substandard living conditions, i.e. a more or less feudal system has arisen, presumably due to automation and AI.  Perhaps the film’s timeline needs adjusting, both for earlier technical development of AI-assisted VR and for earlier societal ramifications of AI automation.

Adapted from the book by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is a sci-fi action thriller that unfolds primarily within the virtual reality space. The film is slated for global theatrical release on March 30, 2018, from Warner Bros. Pictures, Amblin Partners and Village Roadshow Pictures.

Plot summary: In 2044, the material world is a hellish dystopia, for various reasons: “The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars,” Cline writes.  Our hero is Wade Watts, an 18-year-old boy living in a Columbus Ohio trailer park where all the trailers are stacked vertically. Everyone spends the vast majority of their time in the OASIS, a massive virtual-reality utopia created by a reclusive Steve Jobs–esque super-genius named James Halliday. For the right price, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone.

As the book opens, news breaks that Halliday has died, and has left his entire $240 billion fortune to whoever can navigate a series of trials and riddles and fetch quests, all of which require an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s arcana, including movies, music, TV shows, and especially video games, all compiled in a downloadable, 1,000-page bible called Anorak’s Almanac.

Ready Player One is one of the most anticipated movies in the world, and has tremendous potential to engage and entertain the worldwide market, showcasing the transformative nature of VR, and what it can and will be,” said Rikard Steiber, President, Viveport – exclusive partner for VR based on the film.

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