A confused little article posted on Forbes seriously suggests that virtual reality will become the next China white. The argument is that videogames trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, which puts them in the same category as cocaine. Though Tom Bissell’s Extra Lives may have something to say about the connection, there is something very different going on when you use cocaine: you get high.
The author then rightly points out that, when you partake of other drugs, there are a whole host of other potent chemicals swirling around in your brain that games don’t stimulate… at least not yet!
Pretty soon, we’ll have video games that trigger endorphins and anandamide and serotonin and dopamine and all the rest. This will happen because our neuro-imaging and sensing technologies are experiencing their own version of Moore’s Law and this will continue to enhance our understanding of how to control the brain’s internal chemistry.
In other words, simply because science is great, we’ll one day be able to reproduce via games any psychoactive stimulus, which is obviously a pretty huge leap in logic. While game addiction is a real phenomena that we should be concerned about, this is technophobia and fearmongering. On the other hand: if VR already has people this scared, it must be doing something right. Pass the, uh, headset?