Ernst Cline's epic adventure Ready Player One caught the eye and interest of many - well actually, one person: Steven Spielberg. He readily accepted the challenge by taking the futurist novel and bringing it to the present.
Ready Player One by Ernst Cline - Image supplied by Penguin Random House
In the past we had ideas of what the future would look like: some virtual reality fused with fiction and of course, our non-fiction bouquet of literature, films, television and other popular culture.
At some stage in this vision the animated series Captain N: The Game Master and the gaming series Sims seemed to touch on this virtual world and serve as previews of what could be our future ways of living.
Disney's Tron also came close but did not quite depict it -realistically. It is therefore genuinely brilliant that a complete conversion from book to film has been undertaken to create a present-day offering that for a long time the imagination had always longed for.
For the first time the concept that living entirely in a virtual environment as a way to be educated, pursue a career and even make a functioning life for oneself has been presented on the big screen in a much more substantial manner. Instead of walking out of the cinema and thinking what if, we are in a time when one thinks “I can do parts of this now.”
Spielberg has always tilted towards this notion with Back to the Future and even E.T. as touching points, but this was the first time he could really cut loose...
And the reason why this seems realistic is because the technology is now more accessible and less of a reach - thus providing a more lucid execution of Cline's fictional novel.
Yes, Ready Player One has outlandish concepts and fun happenings, however two parts categorically stand-out - being educated and building a career within a virtual world (in many ways a virtuality of sorts).
With the current online job market being super bullish, sending out a CV through various platforms isn't perhaps as effective as partaking in an instant interview in a virtual meeting setup. This could in turn push career turnovers into overdrive. Allowing for the building of one’s life, career or business within a similar environment in the future will provide an interactive platform that perhaps emulates that of 2nd Life and online gaming platforms like World of Warcraft.
The benefits to education are more intriguing: the idea to provide free education opportunities to a planet’s hungry minds at a blink of an eye, shows a way forward to engaging with a future youth market that yearns for quicker responses and access to information. Perhaps the days of the walk to school, waiting for the school bus, carpooling to school and even the school uniform are numbered. But at least education is here to stay...
As Cline pays homage to the 80's and some cosmic fantasies, it’s nice to know that what was once thought to be virtual is now quite normal.