Welcome to the CS3043 group project site for Ready Player One!
Scroll down to learn more about Ready Player One and its relation to computing technologies.
Table of Contents
- Computing Technologies
- Topics Covered
- Plot Time Line
- Movie Makers’ Intent in Regards to Computing
- Societal Conclusions
- Meeting Minutes
Virutal Reality(VR) technology is an exciting new avenue for computing. While VR is not a new topic and has existed in academic literature and science fiction novels for years now the technology to run this software is finally avaliable to consumers. Ready Player One presents a reality in which everyone, regardless of income level, has access to virtual reality. This generates a bunch of pros and cons that are discussed later on the webpage(see movie maker’s intent). This section deals with the logistics of growing VR technology, will VR technology be as advanced as presented in the movie within the next 27 years, and will everyone be able to afford it as shown in the movie.
Current State of VR:
Virtual Reality technology is a growing phenomenon currently gated by the requirement of a moderately strong pc [VR1]. The following specs are required to run oculus VR on “minimum settings”: Nvidia GTX 970, Intel i5-4950, 8gb+ RAM [VR1]. These parts aren’t top of the line but the cost of VR also includes the environment needed to run the VR. All interactive VR environments require controllers or input devices on top of the headset required to display the image to the user [VR2].
Future State of VR:
Using the current specs required to run VR and comparing that to technology found in a smartphone today because it is comparable size to a VR headset, will be a VR headset with computing power be viable in 2045?
Current specs required to run VR:
- The base clock speed for the gtx 970 is around 1050MHz[VR3]
- The base clock speed for the i5-4950 is 3.3GHz [VR4]
- 8 GBs of RAM needed
- Average size of desktop 18 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and 24-30 inches deep [VR11].
Current specs of a smartphone:
- Current phones have around 1.8-2Ghz processor speed [VR5]
- Many phones have 4GBs of RAM [VR5]
- Currently smart phones don’t use dedicated graphics cards and instead use on board chips such as the Adreno 530 found in many high end android phones, and it has a processing clock speed around 650 MHz [VR6].
Average size of a smartphone, screen size around 5.3-5.4 inches and .3-.4 inches deep [VR12].
Visual shows that yes in 27 years we will probably have the technology to run VR on headsets with computational power built in based on current specs and the trend of technology growth up until now.
Cost of VR
Current: Nvidia estimates that 99% of computers in 2016 couldn’t run VR programs [VR10]. Therefore a VR setup currently costs $600-800 for the VR equipment and another $1000-2000 for the computer that can run the VR programs [VR7]. The range of the computer is from $1000 which are the minimum requirements and up to $2000 for a computer with recommended requirements [VR7]. This means the buy in for VR is around $1700 dollars for entry level, and with evolving program requirements it would be much safer to buy in at $2700.
The median household income of a U.S. family is $59,000 [VR8]. So comparing the cost of a VR setup to a household income the calculated cost of a VR setup is 4.5% of a U.S. family income. Conclusively VR is currently too expensive to be a widespread technology.
Future: Looking at graph [VR9] it’s obvious that the cost of personal computers and peripherals has been on the decline. This means that following this trend in 27 years in the future these products will be very cheap [VR9]. As more and more companies start to develop VR technology the cost has continually gone down, now consumers may use their smartphone instead of a computer, this means the VR quality is lower but the fact remains the VR buy in is cheaper [VR10].
The y axis on this graph is consumer price index, the base year or denominator in equation is 1997
Using these sources it is possible that in the future families of all income level may afford VR as seen in Ready Player One. There is ample evidence that the cost of VR will continually decline until 2045, with no evidence against it currently. Unless an unforeseen trend in increasing technology cost occurs, almost every consumer in the near future will be able to afford a VR setup.
The topic of facial scanning can already be seen all around us in the real world. Apple unveiled the iPhone X has facial scanning unlock features, and many other companies are utilizing facial scanning as a biometric. The facial scanning presented here looks at real time continuous facial scanning, and reanimating those captured images on a computer. It turns out human faces are quite complex and therefore most forms of facial scanning approximate as opposed to storing every single features of a human face.
Current: Facial Scanning technology currently isn’t advanced enough to be used in conjunction with VR as shown in the movie [FS1]. This is because most VR headsets don’t have enough space to have the receptors and space necessary to store facial images [FS1]. However in early 2018 VR headsets with eye tracking capabilities alongside with theorized emotion scanning mean this technology is commercially just around the corner [FS2]. This technology is already causing concerns for some organization such as the ACLU which argues this technology can be used to track private individuals and some researchers agree with this sentiment that VR facial tracking allows a company to record what grabs consumers attention and other metrics in a private environment that can be used for advertising [FS2] [FS3]. Current facial scanning technology can only capture around 40-50 unique identification points that are then used in reanimated said face in a computer [FS6]. The FPS of reanimation of this technology in 2003 was 20fps, this number has increased with hardware and software improvements to currently be around 30fps [FS6][FS7].
Future: Facial Scanning technology is waiting on the hardware to be developed because there are already multiple software applications and SDKs that allow for facial or emotional scanning, and the reason they aren’t as advanced as they could be is the lack of data [FS4]. Depending on the product, some VR headsets already have emotional reading implemented in the form of electrodes that detect pressures of the user’s face and then match that with 10 pre-configured facial expressions [FS5]. The accuracy of this technology can be increased simply through calibration and continued use [FS5]. Therefore in 2045 it is very likely that the facial scanning and recognition in a VR headset will be as sophisticated as in Ready Player One. It’s interesting to note however that facial reanimation based off this technology may not be advanced as presented in the movie as the growth in animation of 10fps took around 12 years [FS6][FS7], and therefore if we assume the facial reanimation was at 60fps in the movie it still could be years away in 2045 from being reality.
VR interface devices allow users to simulate their senses through technology without actually interacting with anything but a computer and peripherals. Why would people use I/O devices that could harm them? Haptic feedback gloves could generate sensations of pain, and omnidirectional treadmills could cause users to fall and injure themselves. These downsides are vastly outweighed by the strenths of these technologies. As indicated below in sections about each technology, VR interface devices increased user immersion in VR. They allow users to fully utilize most of their senses, which in turn improves their cognitive behavior meaning everything feels more realistic because your body and mind are being decieved to believe it is.
Current: Omnidirectional treadmills are currently being developed based off recent research that shows the viability of such a method for virtual reality [IO1]. Recent psychological research shows that omnidirectional treadmills actually improves cognitive understanding of the surrounding area [IO2]. Currently omnidirectional treadmills are being developed in two ways, one where there is no harness and therefore movement is freeform, this proves to be very hard in practice as movement away from the center has to be detected immediately, which is why many companies are using harnesses to secure safety [IO3].
Future: Ongoing research is required to determine a safer and faster way to detect a user’s position deviating from the center [IO4]. There are many theories about how to solve this issue and many companies already have prototype treadmills that have a strong detection system but require further testing before products can become commercially safe.
It is likely that we would have omnidirectional treadmills similar to the one displayed in the movie based on the current state of technology already being quite similar.
Current:Haptic feedback technology is currently in its early stages of development, many researchers are interested in what promise the technology holds [IO5]. There are very few examples of haptic technology currently as many are still being developed, but HaptX announced their haptic gloves which use hundred of mini air pockets that compress and decompress through software to generate pressure and feeling in the hands [IO6]. Currently these gloves are large and bulky, but don’t look too far off aesthetically from the gloves that Wade wears in the movie. The cost of haptic gloves is still in the air as only a few companies actually have products that consumers can use, but one company Plexus is selling developer kits for $250 [IO7].
Future: Haptic feedback is being developed at an alarming rate, with many early reports of the technology only dating back to 2013. Phycological research indicates that haptic feedback greatly increases the ability for users in VR to immerse and learn from complex tasks [IO8]. A large driving force for the development of haptic VR feedback is the medical community, which is starting to use VR technology to train surgeons with simulations prior to surgery, and found that haptic feedback greatly fosters the surgeon’s learning [IO9]. It’s hard to say whether this technology will be advanced as the one in the movie, because according to sources about current technology within 27 years it will definitely improve to be similar to the movie depiction, but the cost is unknown. There are currently very few products to base a cost guess on and there is no research on the cost of haptic technology at the moment, only private businesses researching it themselves.
- Exists in many apps and games in the form of in-game currency
- Due to the world-wide use of the in-game currency, the movie’s virtual currency could resemble today’s cryptocurrencies
- There has been a strong rise in the number of digital currencies over the past year and this trend seems to be continuing up
- There are concerns about the scalability of online currencies especially if it were to take over as the main type of currencies. Currently Credit card companies can handle 56,000 transactions per second and consistently deal with 2,000 tps, bitcoin is designed to process 7 tps meaning it would have to scale at least 250 fold to have the smallest chance of success
- Energy costs of mining bitcoin are high, already close to $7,000 and set to double. Market prices would need to rise consistently to make it profitable for miners to maintain the network
- If these technical problems can be figured out, then online currency may stay at the top
Trends: User base doubles every 12 months, so in 10 years it would be fully adapted but adaptations don’t follow trends exactly so 26 years would be a better estimate
Copying Over Subconscious
- 100 trillion connections in the brain so if each equals 1 bit, that would equal 12.5 Terabytes of fast storage needed to recreate the brain, or if using bytes for added infrastructure = 100 Terabytes
- This is comparable to today’s supercomputers but have a price tag of $97 million
- Adding in the flexibility of the brain to change as well as overhead memory systems could bring the total amount of needed fast memory to a Petabyte
- It is within the realm of possibility that by 2045 the computing power will be accessible to do this especially for people with enough wealth as James Halliday
- Questions of ethics will have to be addressed along the way but its not mainstream in ready player one so those questions may be asked later, (based on Wade’s reaction to it, it is a very new technology)
- Already a startup pitching a mind uploading service called Nectome, but says it will not exactly be you
This could also be accelerated if he used a combined amount from each device on the OASIS, because currently Brain estimated computing power= 10^18 FLOPS, Computing power of world currently = 10^23 FLOPS
Networked Communications - Ch.3
In the world of Ready Player One, the OASIS is a virtual game world that the whole world is a part of. In the modern internet system, people shop, socialize, contribute and distribute content, access legal and illegal information, crowdsource information, learn new ideas, enter virtual worlds, and the list goes on and on. In the OASIS, most if not all of these activities exist and are available because of the seemingly ubiquitous internet in the movie and the MMORPG elements of the game. Because of this fact, the big issues of the internet that the current world has are also issue in the world of Ready Player One and more directly in the OASIS.
At the beginning of the movie, Wade Watts explains how much of the world lives life in the OASIS because of the lack of natural resources and bleakness of the real world. While not explicitly stated in the movie, internet addiction plagues many people in Ready Player One. While jobs still appear to exist outside the game world, the main characters seem to be constantly in the OASIS. IOI loyalty centers are indirect proof of the overspending of real money in the game world. People felt the need to invest so much of their money into a game that they ended up in debt. Watt’s aunt’s boyfriend also demonstrates a level of internet addiction in which he uses Watt’s aunt’s money to purchase OASIS equipment. Watt’s decision to close the OASIS for 2 days a week to cause more people to spend time in the real world further pushes the point that he feels his world should live in the real word and not spend so much time in the virtual one. His decision is similar to South Korea’s internet policy. South Korea prohibits children under 16 from playing online games from 12AM to 6AM to stave off the wave of internet addiction among South Korean teenagers. In response to this concept, the flip side is also relevant. In today’s world, the world of Ready Player One seems to be addicted to the internet. But in a world where most of society deems the OASIS to be a better place than the real world, internet addiction may no longer be as relevant. If everyone is addicted, is anyone addicted? Surely, the real world exists, but once the real world is significantly worse than the virtual one, is internet addiction redefined? While eating is still a real world activity in Ready Player One, many activities can be performed in the OASIS with extraordinary realism that seems to be just as real as the real world. According to the book that Ready Player One is based upon, Watts even interacts with a smell machine that adds another level of depth to a player’s experience.
The OASIS consists of players from around the world of varying ages, and the global audience that it hosts may bring up the issue of child censorship. In the movie, Watts’ friend Sho is an 11 year old boy who everyone assumes to be much older throughout the majority of the movie. At the beginning of the movie, Watts explains there are variety of activities to do in the OASIS, and he suggests that there are adult activities. On top of this, the amount of violence and almost unlimited creativity for both appropriate and inappropriate content in the game warrants a discussion on how much is too much for kids in the OASIS. Sho seems to be able to access everything that Watts’ crew can access. When the team enters into The Shining, while humorous, The Shining has many inappropriate scenes that Sho should not be seeing without parental consent.
Identity theft across networked communications is discussed in the textbook and is surely relevant to Ready Player One. On a less serious note, Aech’s masculine build and voice is not representative of the woman behind the scenes. While not a direct issue regarding Aech and common in video games and social media, online predators and scams in the form of bots may conceal their identity behind a virtual face. On a serious note, Watts and his team hack into Sorrento’s game account to trick him into thinking he is outside of the game world. While Watts did not steal Sorrento’s money or perform physical harm to Sorrento, Watts looked at Sorrento’s password and virtually held him at gunpoint demanding him to give information. The movie makes an obvious point about keeping passwords secure, but it also highlights how user login information for a complex world such as the OASIS could have significant repercussions on society. If one had Watts’ account information, Watts’ could lose access to his account, in-game money likely linked to real world money, and his identity as a player.
Intellectual Property - Ch.4
By watching Ready Player One or even just the trailer, one might’ve seen a reference to a character in past or current pop culture. Assuming that the OASIS is under U.S copyright law, that copyrights last for 70 years after the author’s death, and that the OASIS is an entity in itself that is seperate from the works of others and has not bought out all of the existing game companies, in 2045, the OASIS would pay a significant amount of licensing fees for including different characters from other games in their own game.
Since the OASIS is so popular in world of Ready Player One, players’ reliance on IOI I/O is capitalism at work. While not discussed or explained in the movie, the OASIS or Gregarious games most likely tried to develop their own I/O equipment to lower cost of entry into the game but had to cease production when IOI produced better patented equipment and gained popularity. While this claim is simply speculation within the U.S intellectual property laws, it provides an explanation why the OASIS was not the primary producer of haptic feedback gear.
At the end of the movie, Halliday suggests his avatar is a copy of his subconscious. Because Halliday’s creative mind may still exist, one may wonder how the 70 years after author’s death copyright law works when dealing with the subconscious of another person. Is the author still alive because he can produce? Or is the author simply dead? Of course, if everyone were to make a copy of their subconscious and prevent death, that would cause problems beyond the scope of copyright law. But if a subconcious were to produce original content, perhaps the content would become public domain and be freely shared to the world.
Information Privacy - Ch.5
Players preserve their identity in the OASIS by using aliases. Information only gets out if people reveal their identity. Wade reveals his real name putting him and his family in danger. Someone was tracked easily by first name without government resources.
Players preserve their identity in the OASIS by using aliases
The OASIS is a large virtual game world consists of people around the world, which brings up the information privacy concerns.
In OASIS, players use aliases to protect their information privacy. Use of only alias means others do not have any access to one’s actual identity, which makes it to be almost impossible to steal one’s identity information from the game. After Watt passed the first challenge and get on the leaderboard in the OASIS, everyone in the OASIS knows “Parzival”, but no one knows his actual name or address. That shows people’s information privacy can be protected in OASIS.
Information only gets out if people reveal their identity
However, there are also some serious privacy issue in the OASIS. Just after Watt speak out his first name to Cook(Art3mis) and get spied by IOI, they managed to get all personal information about Watt through just a first name. They know his full name, address, appearance, etc. by just a first name without any government resources. This also put his family in danger.
One other example is Watt’s team hacked Sorrento’s account with just a line of password (discussed above in Ch.3 section). This is also a severe problem OASIS has, which could lead to leak of personal identity and loss of wealth. That shows the single password authentication is sometimes unsafe. A article [R1] states that single password authentication method is always crackable, but with an additional authentication method - known as two-factor authentication. That will make the account really safe.
Privacy and the Government - Ch.6
Although the government is not involved in the OASIS, Innovative Online Industries play as a role of the “government”
While the government is not involved in the OASIS, the IOI’s loyalty center seems to be another form of government in the movie. They imprison people in the loyalty center and force them to work for the company. In both real world and OASIS, they have people to monitor them all the time, which means people will not have any privacy in the loyalty center.
The omnipresent surveillance drones from IOI also makes people have almost no privacy in the real world as long as IOI know one’s identity. Watt was tracked all the time by the drones after he let them know his name. That means he has no privacy as long as IOI knows his identity and that also puts him in danger.
Computer and Network Security - Ch.7
What is at risk?
The OASIS coin, the virtual currency in the movie which is tied to a player’s character. The coin itself becomes part of the real world economy over time and companies like IOI hire or force people to earn coins for them. Anything that a player owns in-game and their character itself is at risk. If they were somehow hacked they would have to start over with their character similar to the effect of their avatar dying in the game. While most players hide themselves by adopting new identities in the OASIS, there is some information tied to their account that could be at risk. For example, when Wade ordered the haptic suit it had to have record of his address. The integrity of a game can be compromised by security risks. There could be unwanted exploits that can be taken advantage of.
Aech uses an exploit to prevent Sorrento from logging off from the OASIS and convinces him that he did log off by projecting a realistic simulation. Sorrento’s gaming rig only uses 1 factor authentication and Wade can hack Sorrento through the password that he saw written on the inside.
By using the exploit to hack Sorrento, Wade is able to get Samantha out of her chamber at IOI. From a Kantian point of view, Wade and the others violate the integrity of the game and also put emotional stress on Sorrento by making him believe he was in real life and had guns pointed at him. Using an exploit on Sorrento to achieve the ends of freeing Samantha is not ethical from the Kantian perspective. From the Utilitarian perspective we must add all of the positive and negative outcomes. The negative outcome is using an exploit to harm someone, in this case being Sorrento. The positive outcome is that Samantha can be free and out of harm’s way. While Sorrento had the intent to have Samantha killed eventually, the weight of her life outweighs emotional stress caused to Sorrento. Based on these weights, Wade’s actions were ethical from a Utilitarian point of view. From the virtue ethics perspective, the judgment that Wade and the other makes to hack Sorrento to save Samantha would be seen as a moral action because they put her life first. Samantha is able to access Sorrento’s rig and take down the force field on Planet Doom. From the Kantian point of view, Samantha violates Sorrento’s privacy and uses his property as a means to an end. From that view, Samantha is being unethical. However, Sorrento did leave his password out and Samantha did not break into the rig. She just escaped from being imprisoned unjustly and risks her life to disable the force field for the players. In this view, Samantha would be ethical. From the Utilitarian perspective, the negative outcome is that Sorrento’s privacy is violated and there is a positive outcome for all of the players that are against IOI. From the Utilitarian view, Samantha is being ethical because her actions have a positive effect on more people outweighing the negative. From the virtue ethics perspective, the outcome that Samantha wanted was for the players to obtain the egg so that IOI would not control the OASIS. This action would be considered ethical from a virtue ethics perspective.
Computer Reliability - Ch.8
While the OASIS has essentially become the real world for people it is important for the system to be secure and reliable. A game of this scale should have to be properly maintained especially due to the implications that it is not. There is a major security flaw that people could exploit to prevent someone from logging off. While it is unclear whether or not whether the developers were aware of this, they should have followed good testing practices to ensure that there was no critical flaw in the software. Most major games today use patches to add new features and fix bugs. To perform maintenance, a game is usually taken offline to make necessary changes. With the amount of time people spend in the OASIS and how it has become part of their lives it may have been difficult for the developers to schedule maintenance. However, even one critical flaw in the game should warrant the game being temporarily shut down. The movie shows the implications of this when the protagonists hack Sorrento with this security flaw.
Work and Wealth - Ch.10
Globalization is the idea that a process contains a worldwide network of business and markets, and this concept directly describes an aspect of the OASIS. In the OASIS, players can purchase and sell goods and services from other players from around the world. IOI has their own vendors that sell certain items in game. Since the game starts off players at level 0, everyone has a fresh start in a world of virtually unlimited resources and opportunities which is attractive to both the poor and rich in the real world. The world wide usage of the game also suggests, the cost of VR is significantly lower allowing for a greater worldwide marketplace possibly removing much government intervention in the digital economy.
The premise of Ready Player One is that there is a contest where the player who finds the easter egg will gain control of the entire Oasis. This premise has caused what’s described as a “Winner-Take-All” society in which there are too many contestants. Only one person/organization will win, while the rest lose. As a result of this society, some of the most talented people devote their time to socially unproductive work. In the movie, no one takes action to improve the earth’s conditions which suggests that society is participating in productive work. Instead, the population plays video games and doesn’t directly help other people. Only at the very end does Watts try to improve the real world’s conditions by shutting down the OASIS for 2 days out of the week.
The digital divide in which people do not have equal access to technology exists in the world of Ready Player One, but that divide is relatively small in the real world. Throughout the movie, almost everyone has access to virtual reality gear and ubiquitous, high-speed Internet. This allows for every player to interact in a world without limits and have the opportunity to become great. While there is luxury VR gear that Sorrento uses, the gear doesn’t demonstrate any inherent advantages in the game. Inside the game, however, the digital divide is a bit more apparent. Sorrento being an executive of IOI is able to afford high-ticketed items that give him a advantage when playing. During the final battle, Sorrento casts an impenetrable force field that keeps his army safe.
Plot Time Line
The world is in shambles due to the depletion of fossil fuels, global warming, and rampant overpopulation. In response, the world seeks escape from the real world by traveling to the OASIS, a Massively Multiplayer Online Simulation Game (MMOSG), created by James Halliday and Ogden Marrow of Gregarious Games. To enter the OASIS, players must acquire an omni-directional treadmill, haptic feedback body gear, and a virtual reality headset. While these items in today’s world are extremely expensive or still in development, in the world of Ready Player One, both rich and poor citizens have access to these items which suggests that the cost of these items are significantly lower than the current prices. Like many current free-to-play games such as FortNite, the OASIS also uses in-game transactions that require real world money. Even though the production of the OASIS costed hundreds of millions of dollars and took a decade to make, the money generated from in-game transactions quickly made Halliday and Marrow the 2 wealthiest men in the world.
James Halliday, co-creator of the OASIS passes away. After his death, Halliday’s in-game avatar Anaorak announces a quest to find the Golden Easter Egg by acquiring 3 hidden keys spread throughout the OASIS universe. Once a player obtains the Golden Easter Egg, the player will be given ownership of the OASIS. OASIS players and Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a powerful technology corporation, rush to find the keys to obtain control of the OASIS. IOI not only has hundreds of company players in search of the egg, but the company also controls a vast number of the in-game vendors and the production of OASIS haptic feedback gear. On top of this, IOI uses drone technology to obtain a tactical view of the real world for their various purposes involving package delivery, debt collection, and murder. In regards to debt collection, IOI operates “Loyalty Centers” which essentially force debtors to work off their debt in the OASIS under IOI supervision.
Orphaned teenager Wade Watts, also known as Parzival in the OASIS, befriends Art3mis, a well-known Gunter (short for egg hunter), and they explore the Archives to find out information about Halliday’s life in the hope of finding the first key. The Archives has a collection of hyper-realistic reenactments of Halliday’s life which allows Watts to find specific details on Halliday’s life.
By driving backwards in the ever-shifting Manhattan cityscape racing mini game, Wade Watts and his friends obtain the first key. His crew becomes known as the High Fivers and consists of Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Sho. After learning of Halliday’s several regrets in life including his love for his friend Marrow’s wife Kira, Watts and his crew travel to a recreation of the movie The Shining and find the second key. The recreation of pop culture references in a virtual reality format allows Watts and his friends to experience entertainment in ways that resemble real life. It is one thing to experience a jump scare, but it is another thing entirely when you are running away from the creature that jumped at you. On top of that, the player haptic feedback systems create an even more immersive experience where pain in a video game or movie may mimic real life pain.
Nolan Sorrento, CEO of IOI, hires an in-game mercenary i-R0k to find the identity of Watts and offers Watts an important job at IOI. When Watts refuses the position, Sorrento bombs Watts home, killing Watts’ aunt. Art3mis, in real life, saves Watts, but is captured soon after by IOI and put into a servitude chamber. The fact that Sorrento hires an in-game mercenary to find information on Watts’ points to the reality of online privacy. While a game may have good intentions of providing an entertaining experience, the more a game or software becomes popular and integrated with real life, the more privacy becomes a real issue. As seen in the movie, the real-life information leaked by Watts costs him his aunt’s life and the destruction of his home.
IOI discovers that the final key is found playing Halliday’s favorite Atari 2600 game on Planet Doom. In an effort to stop anyone from disrupting their operations, IOI protects the location with a force field. To stop IOI from obtaining the final key, Watts and his crew free Art3mis from the IOI facility and recruit OASIS players to fight against IOI. To free Art3mis from IOI, Watts and his friends trick Sorrento into thinking he’s being held hostage by hacking into his account. Because Sorrento left his account password on a piece of paper on his arm rest, the team creates a simulation within the OASIS. When Sorrento logs out of the OASIS, he thinks he’s back in the real world. In reality, however, he’s in a recreation of his office. The hyper realism of virtual reality is to be noted because it convinced Sorrento he was in the real world. But what is more important and relevant to today’s digital age crawling with cyber crime is the issue of security. By hacking into a person’s OASIS account, one could effectively convince a person that they were living normal life and the victim would be none the wiser. Sorrento’s ignorance to keep a physical copy of his password nearby reminds the movie viewer of the value of online passwords.
Art3mis deactivates the force field and as a last line of defense Sorrento activates a virtual bomb that kills all player avatars on Planet Doom. Because of a special coin that Watts obtained from the Archive Collector who is secretly Morrow’s avatar, Watts regenerates, completes the final challenge, and is awarded the 3rd key.
Watts is taken to a special virtual room and given a contract to sign by Anorak. The contract is exact same contract that Morrow signed to turn over his share of Gregarious games, and since Watts is aware of the contract’s significance, he refuses to sign the contract. As a result of Watts’ wise decision, Anorak transforms into James Halliday, and Halliday graciously gives Watts the Golden Easter Egg and control over the OASIS. Anorak also says during this time that he is not an NPC. This dialogue suggests that Anorak may be a copy of Halliday’s subconscious which begs the question if Halliday is internally still running the OASIS.
Sorrento is arrested for bombing Watts’ house and murdering his aunt. The government does not seem to be involved throughout much of the movie up until this scene which implies that the OASIS, an online video game, may have more of an influence on society than the US government.
Watts bans IOI from forcing people into servitude and shuts down the OASIS twice a week to encourage people to live life in the real world. Watts’ decision to shut down the OASIS reveals that he feels his world is addicted to the digital world. The power of a world with unlimited resources is attractive and some might say better than our current one. This debate continues to grow more relevant as virtual reality becomes more affordable, VR I/O allows for realistic feedback, and applications become more and more like real life.
Watts and Samantha Cook (Art3mis in real life) move in together.
Movie Makers’ Intent in Regards to Computing
- The director Spielberg believes VR will serves on a global scale and will probably be a new way of narrative storytelling in the near future. [R2]
- He think VR will serve in lots of field such as: [R2] – Virtual sceneries – Education: virtual class – Science – Medicine: remote surgery
- The author Cline also see a paradigm shift from traditional narrative method to VR. [R3]
- They both have concerns about the addiction in VR. Cline thinks balance is important while Spielberg believes people should make their own choice. [R3]
- “It [Ready Player One] wasn’t that far away from what I think is going to happen someday,” said Spielberg. [R3]
The movie depicts a society adopting a false world as their own. Games can provide an escape for players through entertainment . Some believe that it is a superior form of escape because it is participatory . The people in the OASIS use it as a means to escape their harsh realities. Over time, the game becomes more realistic to players as they adopt new identities and aspects of the game even become part of society such as the in-game currency becoming a global currency. Ready Player One exhibits the idea that societal issues such as class discrepancy, growing populations without space, and so on will not be solved simply by developing technology to escape them. Problems we are facing in our current society will not go away with better, faster, more advanced technology, instead they will remain and even grow. Current issues such as corporations tracking private information of consumers won’t disappear with newer technology, instead OASIS and IOI show that these problems will increase, and that society must sometimes face the harsh reality as opposed to hiding from it.
There are several societal implications of a completely digital world. First, the movie touches on the area of communication. The OASIS works to close off the outside world for players seeking an escape. Most communication is done through the game and in that way it can be equated to how society communicates face-to-face less today. However, the implication is that players become so absorbed into the game that there is no focus on changing the status of the real world. In the end, Wade shuts down the OASIS two days a week to encourage people to experience the world outside the OASIS.
Another topic that the movie brings up is privacy. In today’s society, people post information about themselves on social media. Contrary to this, in the OASIS people form new identities to remain anonymous. In a way this adds a layer of privacy to all players. However, with minimal connections to their real identity, players can still find their privacy compromised. While Wade gave up his real name, other members of the “High Five” were discovered through other information. The only one that could not be found was Aech because her avatar did not match her gender. Overall, this is similar to how easy it is to find information online about someone today by knowing small pieces of information about them.
Lastly, the movie discusses the role of the government in privacy. While the movie itself does not focus on the real government, the IOI takes on that role. One part which showed this was when they were able to track all of the members of the “High Five.” The information they were able to gather from the game combined with facial scanning and surveillance drones allowed IOI to monitor and track their movements. The government in today’s society also collects some surveillance data although not to the caliber as shown in the movie.
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R1. Doug Barney, Single Password = Security Failure: How Two-Factor Authentication Saves the Day, (26 Sep. 2018) https://www.kaseya.com/blog/2016/10/14/single-password-security-failure-how-two-factor-authentication-saves-the-day/
R2. Erik Davis, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: STEVEN SPIELBERG ON ‘READY PLAYER ONE’ AND THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY, (22 Sep. 2018) https://www.fandango.com/movie-news/exclusive-interview-steven-spielberg-on-ready-player-one-and-the-future-of-virtual-reality-753091
R3. Josh Rottenberg, ‘Ready Player One’s’ Steven Spielberg and Ernest Cline on pooling their nostalgia to tell a new story, (26 Sep. 2018) http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-mn-ready-player-one-spielberg-cline-20180323-htmlstory.html