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Artificial intelligenceToday, virtual reality is a game. There are a few apps that have some nifty experiences of being on a beach, at the top of the Empire State Building, skydiving and the like. In the next decade, we will see significant expansion of the number, type and capabilities of virtual environments that we can spend time in. Artificial intelligence will make those environments feel even more real; it will create entirely novel people (in the form of avatars) and places, or it will recreate what is familiar to us, and enable us to walk down the streets of our childhood, “live” in houses that replicate the ones we grew up in—in short, have experiences in virtual worlds. These worlds will have virtual relationships, virtual communities and virtual economies, virtual places for work and leisure.

Most of us will create avatars—our “other” selves—that will become as ubiquitous as our personal email accounts. Our virtual experiences will be moderated by our avatar selves: on our behalf, they will walk the virtual streets, live in whatever virtual environment we choose.

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