How virtual reality reveals a moral dilemma
Ric Edelman: It's Wednesday, May 31st. Have you ever played with virtual reality glasses? You know, when you put these goggles on, you find yourself immersed in the metaverse where you can visit cities from your sofa, literally take a tour of Paris without having to actually go to Paris or engage in a Star Wars game. And you'll actually be a Jedi Knight. Is this really just a game?
Well, not any longer. There's a cattle breeder and rancher in Turkey. He placed VR headsets on his cows. See, the cows live in a barn, and he wanted to see if they would produce more milk if he could trick them into thinking that they're actually outside on a nice sunny day. Well, he developed these VR headsets for his cattle in conjunction with veterinarians.
And guess what? It worked. The cow’s output rose from five gallons of milk per day to seven gallons. That's a 40% increase. This is a pretty astonishing example of the innovation and innovative uses of innovation of these new technologies.
Of course, at the same time, we're beginning to ask ourselves important related questions such as ethics. Is there an ethical issue with putting VR glasses on a cow to trick it into generating higher productivity? Is there a cruel element of this? Wouldn't it be more ethical to actually take the cow out into the field? And the only reason they're not doing that, I can imagine, is the economics associated with putting the cow out in the field.
It's probably a lot cheaper to cram them into the barn. So are there ethical issues associated with this? This is the kind of debate that we need to explore as we develop and deploy these exponential technologies. Yeah, we can do really cool stuff. Are we sure that we should? I'll leave these questions to you.
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