1999 10% of the world's computing power was non-human
2029 99% of the world’s computing capacity will be non-human

In the past, computing power has doubled approximately every 18 months, a trend that is known as Moore’s Law. (Webopedia 2004) If this is the case then we should have a computer powerful enough to run immersive VR programs in our own homes by the year 2037. With the advancements in nanotechnology and quantum computing (where computers mimic the human brain’s processes) this figure could be expected to grow exponentially.

When we use the human brain as the standard for computing ‘real-life’ scenarios we can estimate when VR systems can do the same. The human brain can perform 20 quadrillion calculations per second, while the most powerful supercomputer in the world today, The Earth Simulator in Yokohama, Japan, can perform 35.86 trillion calculations per second. (www.cnn.com 2004)

Today VR technology is still in its infancy, and there are damaging flaws. Graphics, no matter how impressive, are not lifelike. Time lags are far too long. Optic and auditory hardware are not 100% realistic. Users can walk into walls or pick up an object without feeling a thing. The equipment is still far too expensive for everyday use. But each and every one of these drawbacks is the subject of intense research and work; the problems are being overcome, and VR is poised for its major breakthrough. (Sherman and Judkins 1992)

This site was published for Communication Studies 380 at the University of Calgary, March 26, 2004