by: Rick van der Wal via Business and Games Blog

Virtual culture, future and business blogger Wayne Porter pointed me to the presentation of internationally celebrated inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil at the Game Developers Conference.

He tells us (as I’ve said before in 2 earlier postings how games show Virtual Worlds the way): “The games industry fits in well with the acceleration of progress; in no other industry do you feel that more than games”. By the year 2033 “blood cell-size devices […] can go inside our bodies and keep us healthy and inside our brain and expand our intelligence […and…] produce full immersion virtual reality from inside the nervous system”. (Source: BBC)

The full immersion will make it clear “In virtual worlds we do real romance, real learning, real business. Virtual reality is real reality.” And this is the part I’ve been thinking about as well. Ray’s prediction is based on this immersive technology, very much a technical approach to the problem of Virtual Reality integration and acceptance, and even a philosophical debate about the definition of reality. However, about 2 weeks ago I found a great Dutch blogging article (titled ‘Virtual Reality is just Real‘) about the perception of the word ‘Virtual’ and I think is/should be the debate of the years directly ahead of us, as it will help the topic on how to define a ‘Virtual World’ - a term still used loosely for games, communities, even instant messaging.

The (mainstream marketing blog) article describes how the big media often depicts ‘Virtual’ along the lines of ‘fake’. Even Wikipedia still describes Virtual as “…that which is not real, but may display the full qualities of the real”. According to these media ‘virtual’ equals not real, not real equals fake, and the mainstream media doesn’t deal in fake, it reports of the real world. This is the circle Virtual Worlds are currently in, because without breaking this paradigm, the mainstream won’t be able to accept Virtual Worlds. (This is actually part of the reason why I am a big fan of the word ‘Metaverse’)

Virtual Conversations, Virtual Banking, Virtual Anything - The question Ray seems to answer is when are the masses going to wake up and see all the word ‘virtual’ means in the context of a ‘Virtual World’ is a digital translation of thoughts and actions rather than a physical translation of the very same, very real ideas. If it takes a fully immersed virtual experience to do so, it will probably be around 2033 - I’m hoping it will be sooner.

Original Post:

Leave a Comment