The human race is fascinated with its evolution. We dig out ancient skeletal bones buried in the ground, give our ancestors names such as Homo Erectus and Homo Habilis, and construct the DNA genome from a Neanderthal toe bone in order to understand how we differ from the Neanderthals. We do all this to understand who we were, who we are, and perhaps most importantly, who we will become. Biology gives us an important glimpse into our evolutionary future. But I believe science-fiction increasingly gives us a good glimpse as well.

Let’s think back to the fantastic 2013 movie Her (spoiler alerts). It follows the love story of the lonely, introverted Theodore Twombly and Samantha. Initially, a movie premise that doesn’t sound very exciting. However, Samantha isn’t human. She’s the operating system of Theodore’s electronic devices. She only exists in the form of a camera and an admittedly sexy voice spoken in by Scarlett Johansson. Samantha has her own personality and knows Theodore very well, since she has access to all his digital data. Throughout the movie, Theodore falls in love with Samantha.

The movie beautifully explores if and how a program can be loved. But is it ridiculous to fall in love with something that is programmed? What if that something has all the emotions of a human and can learn as well as any human? Is it possible for something to become someone? I believe the thought is not too far-fetched. In recent years, movies and books about virtual reality have become increasingly popular. These movies and books influence entrepreneurs who then go on to create products based on those influences. This way, the more that is written about a certain future, the more it will become true.

Full immersion into a virtual reality is becoming closer and closer. Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014. The company has developed a display called the Oculus Rift, a device that covers your eyes so you could fully immerse yourself in a virtual reality world. Facebook strongly believes virtual reality has incredible potential as a social platform.

Perhaps one day, we will be able to interact with people from all over the world in virtual reality as if it were real life. This will create new problems, often frightening. But the movement towards virtual reality is inevitable. The distinction between real and virtual will disintegrate and the line between DNA and code will blur. Exploring new worlds will not be done through space, but through human imagination and creativity. In a few hundred years, a human might only be a personalized stream of conscious data, uploaded online.