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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

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JC

It may be that one day the majority of humanity might live in virtual worlds as described in books such as this, but even if it is to happen it will be a lot further in the future than some headset wearing salesmen might have us believe. It reminds me of the way we talk about other inhabitable planets light years away, where mankind might go when the earth is beyond redemption. As if we might head off there in a few years time, when the reality is we are pretty much stuck here on earth for the next few hundred if not thousand years or so until we come up with some radical new way of travelling through space. I am the type of person who would like nothing more than to be able to disappear permanently down a virtual rabbit hole to some other world, where I might choose to live an alternative life. I tried very hard to do what I could in my own small way to help this dream along in SL. I am no great lover of reality, and have proved to myself that I can experience just as intricate emotional experiences on line as in RL. But I am sadly under no illusion at all that we are a very long, long way from the kind of virtual living described in most sci fi stories, except perhaps in our own self deluded minds. What they describe, and what people unfamiliar with the reality of places like SL imagine it to be like, is a kind of Total Recall scenario where all of our senses are fully immersed in a totally believable other world that has meaning in space and time. A fantastical whole body experience.
At the present time, hoping for, or worrying about, this kind of experience happening is like booking a ticket for one of the aforementioned trips to other habitable planets in some far flung part of the galaxy.
Online games that talk about fully immersive experiences these days are just a joke right now. There is at present no such thing as a virtual “world”. SL is not a world, it is mostly just a lego like bunch of disconnected moving pictures on a computer screen, the aftermath of an explosion in sesame street, that we imagine to be a virtual world, that we imagine ourselves to be connected to. We are no more in a virtual world when we visit online sites like SL than is the person who reads a book and imagines themselves in the story that they read. And the people that we meet in these picture worlds are little more than pen pals ever were. Virtual reality does not exist yet. It is a dream of the future that may never even happen. However, I am sure that this book will be a great read and fire the imaginations of those who hope one day to exist in such worlds and confirm the worse fears of those who do not.

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