Virtual Reality has touched our minds, our bodies and souls. It has penetrated every part of society. I feel that we have entered an age where people have become accustomed to the virtual where we have now extended our presence into a less real and more materialistic world over the 3D Screen and because of this I have decided to share some of my experiences within the virtual realm of technology. For those who have seen the ‘Kill Switch’ Episode on the X-Files, watched the old or new version of Tron/The Tron Legacy, The Matrix or even AI, you will find that this week’s blog explores the issues of human nature that has entered into the cyber-world.
Virtual Reality is around us we are being drawn into it all the time. It’s practically unavoidable. In order to understand this, I feel that the Gaming Industry is a great place to start, as it has enabled me to understand what this vague, and abstract concept means. For example, I have just recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS. For me it was a toss between the PSP, Vita or 3DS, so I went along with the 3DS after giving it lots of thought. I have no regrets. In fact, one of my favourite features on the Nintendo 3DS is the AR (Augmented Reality) Cards, as well as the Street Pass, and Mii Maker. These aspects of the Nintendo 3DS are all based on morphing the virtual with the real, in addition I’ll confess that it had also helped me make the final decision.
Street Pass and Mii Maker are a great way of explaining how my presence has marked the virtual space. The Nintendo console comes with a camera where one takes a photo of face/profile pic. This can then be digitally enhanced with Mii Maker. The profile /Avatar on the Mii Maker can then be used in games/internet profiles and social media, similar to the way one would use their Avatar on Wii. Your Avatar can now be used as characters in games as well.
Sounds familiar? One’s profile on a game or social media (Facebook, Twitter) application can be identified as taking part of the virtual reality space. I think that the debates on whether this is good or bad is useless, but to assess the impact is of more value. Some of the issues that have been talked about are based on the humanity’s senses and perceptions. I won’t be going through these, as they are a little obvious. For instance, I have had to adapt with my sense of sight. For instance, when I am immersed in the 3D world on my console as opposed to the ‘real’ world, (that maybe on the way to uni on the bus) I have to be able to switch from the 3D world to the real world to make sure I don’t miss my stop. For the record though, this has yet to happen.
Thinking about the Virtual World that humans are constantly in contact with, it is difficult to miss the philosophical question of whether these virtual realities are actually assisting humanity as a whole, or as individuals or via consumerism. To elaborate, (this thought derived from the lecture) are the processes/companies behind virtual realities really trying to improve people’s sense or are they simply focusing on a desire to prove whether the impossible is reachable. I understand that virtual reality technologies are formed on perception and one’s senses. To further explain this, one’s perceptions and senses is built through one’s familiarity with the world. The worlds, which we live in, and the objects that we are in tune with, are familiar to us because of our past experiences. This then means that if we decide to form something new (e.g. Google Glasses) are we simply being selfish and attempting to introduce something that is external to what we are already familiar with. Is it a capitalist pursuit, or are we simply trying to enhance ourselves into the virtual space, because our space is insufficient. These questions, I have yet to uncover, however what I do perceive is that the virtual space is out there and (and to borrow from the X-Files) I feel like I have a second presence outside of my body that is formed out of electrical nodes.
Murphie A, 2004, ‘The World’s Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies,’ Topia Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 11, Spring
Phillippe Jean, Fractals, Technical and Other Things: Eternally Returning to the Virtual, published February 9th 2011, accessed 2013, link, https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Ffractalfinance.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F02%2Feternally-returning-to-virtual.html?tab=people&uname=andersand