Virtual Reality Simulation has been an explosive topic in the tech world in the past decade. Having a first-person perspective in a completely simulated world has led to many philosophical questions about what kind of life we live now, but what kind of death can we live? Has VR gone too far?
One of the leading questions in philosophy is trying to uncover ‘What is death? What does death feel like? What happens after death?’
According to medical records, some people have died and been resurrected. Many have had near-death experiences that can try and explain the sensations of death. However, it is such a unique experience that it is almost impossible to describe to others.
Some people say they see a flash of all their lifetime. Others say they see ghostly figures described as a glimpse of the afterlife. Either way, there are still no conclusive answers.
Until now… in Melbourne, Australia, with the first-ever death-experience VR simulation exhibition.
How do you simulate death?
The Passing Electrical Storms exhibit from Shaun Gladwell has an interactive VR element hosted in the National Gallery of Victoria. The exhibition allows you to have an ‘extended reality experience’ best described as meditative and unsettling, according to Gladwell.
The simulation has participants put on VR goggles and lay down on their backs in an isolated area. It then guides participants into a simulated ‘de-escalation of life, from cardiac arrest to brain death.’
How does it feel?
One participant shared their experience on TikTok, making this element of the exhibition in Melbourne go viral. Croom12, the TikTok user, shared that when you lie down, the bed vibrates, and then you ‘flatline’ before the VR shows doctors surrounding you and failing to re-animate your body after the simulated cardiac arrest.
When the ‘doctors’ begin to surround you and realize they are failing to revive your ‘body,’ the TikToker shares, ‘you float up past them into space’ and ‘you can see yourself in the goggles’ for an out-of-body experience.
Because the experience is quite intense and very immersive – as all VR simulations are – people can only partake if they are hooked up to a heart monitor and informed that if it becomes too distressing, they can raise their hand and will be unplugged immediately.
Would you do it?
Even though many may find it intriguing, in the comments, many have shared that they are concerned it may be bad for one’s psyche. In fact, how should you carry on after having experimented?
Maybe ‘experiencing death’ isn’t the healthiest idea for your mental health…
There is a rising trend with VR experiences that allow you to visit near-death experiences. For example, there was the infamous ‘suicide machine’ created to give people a VR experience of how a machine would kill them. There is also the Oculus Rift VR headset that would kill you if you virtually died in the video game you are playing.
Are we bringing technology too close to death? Has it gone too far, and will we reach a point where we cannot return? The relationship between life and technology is delicate enough. Now, we must start understanding the relationship between death and technology.
However, technology may have made long-distance relationships easier in the world of life and love.