It seems plausible that at some point in the future we will see fully immersive virtual reality, a setup where you can basically experience anything you could possibly imagine to a detail that is indistinguishable from the real world. Basically the same concept that is in the Matrix, except without the undertones that it is negative.
Is this negative? Imagine if you could put the body into a near sleep state and create a fully vivid dream world. You could live many times longer than you would normally while experiencing absolutely anything you wished. Hogwarts, Star Wars, or even the Marvel Universe. These things would be as real to you as the chair beneath your bum.
Would people ever wish to leave? What if we managed a repair system for bodies? A long term system to repair organs, cells, and brains. Perpetually living in your greatest dreams, how many would take the plunge? I would presume, given the state of our world and what many people accept, this would be a very popular option.
Who would live outside this world? Could we ever truly manage a fully automated environment around us? I imagine that’s possible, While I doubt machines would ever use us for energy (as that’s silly) I could see machines existing in the real world and humans voluntarily entering the dream world. This would be the ultimate form of escapism, and given the general theme of progress in the real world I could see this being fantastically popular.
You could live in a universe where the failures of politics do not exist, bigotry has vanished, all the things you hate would not exist until you wished them to. The universe would be your painter’s canvas and your mind would be the paints. Each and every person would effectively become their own personal god.
It’s a fascinating prospect, if you could interlink the system so that people could jump between their dream worlds and those of their friends you could engage in all the luxuries of the fantasy world without losing your actual humanity (if such a worry existed). Perhaps the most difficult part would be knowing if the person you are meeting is real or merely a simulation.
And at the point that you can’t tell the difference, what questions will that raise about the nature of being human? I say that while noting that I couldn’t care less if I was no better than a PC, I’m quite pleased to be alive and that’s easily enough for me. Narcissism is best left to professionals, of which there are many.