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Alarmist 1996 TV report highlights dangers of virtual reality 'exposure'

Alarmist 1996 TV report highlights dangers of virtual reality 'exposure'

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Do you know about the dangers of virtual reality "exposure"? Short of a headache, no, and nor did I before watching this shocking 1996 NBC News exposé on the dangers of virtual reality.

Back during the first wave of virtual reality, in the ‘90s, there was no shortage of alarmist pieces on TV and in print about just what a bleak future VR portended. This news report, introduced by a fresh-faced Brian Williams, is no exception, but it's still a hoot to watch it with a bit of perspective.

Beware "extended exposure"

Reporter Kerry Sanders opens the segment saying that researchers in Orlando, Florida warn that "there could be a real danger" when switching from the virtual world to reality. He later adds that "Experts warn of possible dizziness, nausea, and loss of coordination after extended exposure. It’s hard to know who will be effected and to what extent."

"Extended exposure," you know, like when you stare into the sun's burning rays or stroll through the ruins of Chernobyl with a Geiger counter. It's basically the same thing as strapping a glorified TV to your head. The danger is real.

The piece ends with this gem: "Most manufacturers warn players to take regular breaks, but experts say until legislation catches up with technology, it is up to each user to make sure their virtual experience does not become a real world nightmare."

Cue scary music.