This claim regarding virtual reality came at the beginning of the year:
"2016 is the year when VR goes from virtual to reality."
It's an article from the BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35205783) that argues, in part, that the involvement of tech heavyweights such as Facebook, Sony, and HTC means that we are approaching a virtual reality renaissance of sorts. Several examples of VR applications are given, including humanitarian ends, such as helping people overcome intense phobias by desensitizing them in safe, virtual environments or allowing students to tour art museums from a great distance and at next to no cost. Other endeavors are more vain, such as video game, space battle examples and climbing Mt. Everest only without all the effort.
Commerce is of course a kenspeckle sector of human activity that is eyeing the applications of virtual reality. VR may allow sales staff to interact with customers on the other side of the world, allowing these potential sales to test out products without physically interacting with them.
I am, of course, not interested in such things. I'm thinking about aliens and exobiology enthusiasts would do well to consider the VR matter in the same way. It might explain why the universe seems so silent.
Many say that there is a threshold, a critical point beyond which a species may not survive. This could be due to self-destruction through war or destroying your own ecosystem through hubris. It might also be due to natural disaster. At any rate, the idea is that civilization might have a short shelf life. But what about this:
It seems likely that advanced aliens would have gone through a Singularity much as we appear headed towards. Once this occurs, do you reach a dead-end rather than a new step in evolution? Is virtual reality so immersive and pleasurable that you would never want to leave? After all, why would you? Ungodly distance between stars is one good reason we may not have made confirmed contact with aliens, but could another be that they are all snug in their VR entertainment enclosures and they're not coming out? And we're headed down the same path?
I'm not saying that would be a bad thing.