Now that the County Economic Development Council is getting behind virtual reality and augmented reality with its Green Screen Institute, we have a chance to marry Silicon Valley with our community — just as we have done with video tech in the past. It could be very positive — but also amusing.
Few are more bullish on virtual reality than Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg of Palo Alto. Back in 2014, Mark wrote (on Facebook, of course): “I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset.
“When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people.” An article on Facebook’s multibillion-dollar bet on VR from Vanity Fair is here.
“Another place with other people”
Let’s invite Mark and others up to meet some of our hard-right political activists such as Todd Juvinall, anti-MJ-grower Don Bessee or those locals “who reject mainstream climate science” and take their cues from an ex-weatherman in Chico.
Sure, there’s a chance for our Silicon Valley visitors to benefit from our laid-back lifestyle, which is the ERC’s pitch. “Extraordinary creativity occurs in peaceful, natural environments outside the hustle & bustle of major urban centers,” as the Resource Council points out.
But there’s also a chance to sit back and experience our toxic small-town politics and extremist political activists (AKA, you can’t make this stuff up!) and recreate these episodes for VR headsets. We could export them to Silicon Valley and all over California.
In the past, I wondered what a novelist like Tom Wolfe could come up with for our area, as he has in some of his novels.
Now I’m thinking that western Nevada County political storytelling all could be experienced in a VR headset — and exported all over. Excerpts from “Todd Juvinall and the Seven Sockpuppets,” “Rebane’s Ruminations,” Don Bessee’s name-calling, the local invite to “Constitutional Sheriff” Mack or Doyel Shamley, the State of Jefferson rallies, or the “nonpartisan” clerk-recorder’s race all come to mind. You know, “a completely immersive environment like a game … or a place far away.”