Before you can respond on this blog, you need to read the article on my site entitled, Faith and Culture: 1.4 Million Get a Virtual Life. I read it orginally on Dick Staub’s website (who linked it from The Chicago Tribune) and added it to my site.
This article raises a bunch of issues and I’m eager to have discussion about it. I’ll kick it off with these thoughts:
Is this life imitating art or art imitating life or is it a cycle? By creating the computer… this act(among others) ultimately led to the Wachowski Brothers creating The Matrix movie… which leads to the creation of this virtual site and others similar to it, which will lead to more advanced virtual sites? Through all of our scientific and technological advancements – are we paving the way to give birth to The Matrix for real?
Has anyone seen The Terminator trilogy? How about I Robot? You catch my drift?
Just in terms of this specific virtual world: Second Life…
If we follow the logical conclusions of technological advancements, I can see at minimum two areas that are priorities:
1. To increase the realism of the virtual world through new computer software and computing power.
2. To increase the efficiency of the User Interface – now it’s keyboards, mouse clicks, joysticks and standard computer screens. Later it will be miniterized computer screen goggles and more ergonomically adaptive interface such as manipulation gloves (which already exist) and even some kind of neural net helmet that captures electrical impulses directly from the brain so a person would be able to navigate the site with a mere thought.
I’ll be honest, the development of this technology is exciting – there are so many possibilities for ways these advancements could be used for positive things; however on the grand scheme of things this is rather terrifying. Things with great potential for good also have great potential for evil if corrupted. And what happens when a person is immersed in this virtual world for hours at a time? For some the effects will be graver than with others – for some, in the words of Morpheus concerning those who have been a part of the System for a long time, “the mind has difficulty letting go.”
Is the line between reality and fantasy becoming almost non-existent?
Let me know what you think. I’ll be adding comments along the way as well.
-Allen Paul Weaver III -