Ever been tempted to get high with virtual reality? Well, you’re in luck: Microsoft is developing “hallucination experiences” – at least according to certain sections of the media.
In late 2016, dozens of news outlets claimed Microsoft was either predicting, or developing, hallucinogenic VR. MailOnline declared that “Microsoft says virtual reality could make you HALLUCINATE in the same way as LSD”, writing of VR’s “free-love, bongo-bashing vibe”.
The source? A post on Microsoft’s blog presenting predictions from female researchers in order to inspire young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) – which used the word “hallucinations” in a metaphorical sense, and made no mention of LSD.
Look back to the birth of other new forms of media and you’ll see how quickly public sentiment shifts into moral panic.