‘Mr. President, you have 15 minutes to get started!’ A Chilling Glimpse of Virtual Reality in Nuclear Armageddon





In addition, the simulation shows how a person feels that day. Too much coffee, lack of sleep, an extra glass of wine after dinner, could all have catastrophic escalating consequences.

However, despite an ongoing debate over the president’s “sole authority” to launch America’s nuclear arsenal, having a civilian in charge could help defuse a nuclear crisis.

The prospect of losing all your ground ICBMs is anathema to a general, but less so to a civilian.

According to those behind the experiment, the vast majority of people who pass through it end up launching nuclear weapons and killing millions of people in Russia.

Some even go straight for the option that eliminates Russia’s leadership and effectively wipes out the country.

There have been “presidents” pounding the table. Others, when removing the helmet after the launch, have tears in their eyes.

The experiment is a collaboration between Princeton, American University and the University of Hamburg, and data is expected this summer.

Its chilling realism simulation was created by British virtual reality company Holosphere.

Sharon Weiner, associate professor at American University, said: “In virtual reality, part of your brain makes you think you’re really the president.

“Most people go for it. All are frustrated with the experience. People are confused that there was no other option.”

Moritz Kütt, senior researcher at the University of Hamburg, said: “Some people think you can stop incoming missiles. But they learn that you can’t stop them.”




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