Abrash Spent Most of His F8 Keynote Convincing the Audience That ‘Reality’ is Constructed in the Brain


Oculus’ Chief Scientist, Michael Abrash, took to the Facebook F8 conference stage yesterday to tell the audience ‘Why Virtual Reality Will Matter to You’.

Much of Abrash’s presentation was dedicated to convincing the audience that the reality we experience is constructed in the brain. He used a series of illusions to show that under the right conditions, the brain can see things that aren’t actually happening, and even those that are downright impossible.

Mashable put together an abridged version of Abrash’s talk which presents all of the illusions (above).

See Also: Facebook’s CTO May Have Just Hinted at a 2015 Release Date for the Oculus Rift

Michael Abrash

Abrash’s thesis is that virtual reality is uniquely powerful because it can take advantage of a brain-created reality by supplying human senses with artificial input. As he puts it, like some sort of incredible anti-poet:

“Our reality is nothing more or less than the sum of the conclusions reached by a variety of unconscious processors driven by a body’s-worth of sensors. Our coherent view of the world emerges from the integration of the outputs of those processors in the lower levels of our brain. VR drives the human perceptual system in the way it’s meant to be driven.”

If you’d like to watch Abrash’s entire F8 presentation, you can see it below (skip to 42:15 for Abrash’s segment of the keynote).

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
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