The future of social VR: Can virtual reality build meaningful social interactions?

The next goal of Facebook and Oculus is to allow users to feel like they are sharing the same space despite of long distances, potentially thousands of miles apart. Facebook is now a massive digital social hive for millions of people. Now it is paving a new way of communication between people by utilizing new technologies especially virtual reality. Mike Schroepfer, CTO of Facebook,  said

“We think VR is the only way we’ll get people to connect over very large distances”

Many people like to hang out with their friends at the same place or even in a single room. Watching movies, playing video games, listening music or just chatting strengthens their bonds. So if all your friends are living far away, Oculus Rooms and Oculus TV will allow you to share the same space and watch TV together. Now by subtracting the factor of distance this technology will allow you and your friends to enjoy virtual concerts etc together.

Now you can take a photo and can change yourself into an avatar with the help of Facebook Spaces, an app developed by Facebook. The transformation into an avatar is done by AI techniques. The lips synchronization of a person with its avatar has also been improved by AI process. This technique can also support multiple languages.

Facebook performed an experiment on a group of people. They were given different tasks. Half of them have to perform tasks with VR headsets. According to Facebook IQ study introverts showed a positive response to meet other people in virtual reality. They established good relationship in virtual space with the people they have met. In the communicational flow on average they were in the optimal range of cognitive effort. A male VR participant said,

“I didn’t feel any difficulty expressing myself at all.”

Virtual Reality opens a warm connection. After performing tasks in virtual reality, 93% people said that they could envisage going to bar, attend sports events etc with their new associate in virtual reality. Introverts were more engaging in VR because interacting through avatars increased their confidence and reduced the factor of self-consciousness. Another male VR participant also added,

“This is a pretty subtle way to get to know someone. There’s not all this light shining on you”

People were really surprised by the comfort they felt revealing this personal info in virtual environment. According to some people, appearance based judgments can be reduced in virtual environment. One of them said,

“I believe VR can take a sense of prejudice out of conversations.”

VR can create a strong bond between people by converging the space and on the single point. Acceleration in social VR technology can produce more positive results in the near future.