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Sony’s Richard Marks: Voice commands are key for transforming VR into the Holodeck

As one of the earliest developers of the PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset and having worked on countless other peripherals for the company, Sony’s Richard Marks knows a lot about futuristic tech. The PlayStation Magic Lab boss is constantly working with the next big concepts that will make our gaming experiences even richer. When it comes to VR, Marks thinks AI and voice controls are going to play a big role.

Speaking in an interview with Glixel, Marks talked about what he thinks will be the next big step for PSVR. Surprisingly, it’s not new tracking systems or peripherals, but what we do with our voices and how virtual worlds react to them.

Marks explained that he was interested in the voice control automation systems that were currently populating homes, like Amazon’s Echo platform. The concept, however, is limited in the real world, according to Marks.

“But if you took that same voice interface and connected it to VR, it could change anything in your world that you want it to,” Marks said. “There’s no limit to the things that we can do with software, right? So my whole world can just be remanufactured by the system at will, by a simple voice command, like, “Let’s go to a castle.” Boom! I can be in a castle. And I can be like, “Oh, no, a castle that has a drawbridge,” and it’ll just happen.

He said that having an entire world to control like this was “a pretty cool thing” that “doesn’t seem very far away.”

Actually developing this kind of technology would probably take “multiple groups and multiple companies,” Marks explained, but it’s still what he suspects will happen to VR in the future.

“That’s why I see it as the holodeck,” he said. “I just put it on and I can make my world anything I want right now. I can say, “Oh yeah, let’s go to a place where…” and if the characters are kind of smart and kind of believable then, yeah, it can all be generated in a pretty rich way. And you’ll have stuff that’s really well authored by game developers, and that’ll be the places you’ll go the most. But you could change almost anything – and everything could potentially be procedurally generated.”

Back at GDC in March Sony showcased its work creating more believable characters in VR, presenting AI that had an understanding of the environments they were in and could react to it.  That tech combined with voice control could create some incredibly powerful VR experiences going forward.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2017

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