I float in space, surrounded on all sides by a grand view of the Milky Way Galaxy. A movie-theater-sized screen hangs before me, gently curved, everything at the perfect viewing distance. Eight different panes glitter with code, facets of a technological jewel granting views into the brain of a system responsible for moving tens of millions of dollars a day. A communications console canted like a drafting table at my fingertips holds a workshop of quick-fire exchanges with my colleagues, my meeting calendar, various API references, and camera feeds of the “real” world. To my left, abutting the mammoth array of code, a two-story tall portrait display shows the specifications for the task at hand atop an ever-present Spotify playlist. I crank the tunes and get into my flow.
But this isn’t an excerpt from some Ernest Cline novel—this is my every-day experience. I’ll spend 40–50 hours in Virtual Reality this week, like I did last week and every (work) week for the last 2½ years. It’s not just fun and games — there are plenty of those, along with exercise, meditation, creativity, socializing, etc. — but for this article, I’m only focusing on (and counting) the work.