There were a lot of things in these readings that both made me fear for the future and also become excited for what is to come. Synthetic reality seems great at first and seems to be the answer to a lot of humanity’s deepest problems. It can bring people across the world together and make the world seem a lot smaller than it really is. It can break down boundaries, reduce racism and discrimination, and also spark creativity and change the media landscape as we know it. In my opinion, though, synthetic reality will create more problems than it solves.
(image from http://www.ebookee.org/)
One great example of this is one of the books in the Pendragon series titled “The Reality Bug.” In this book all of the members of the society are living in virtual reality for their entire lives. Everyone is stored in a giant pyramid building where there are workers who help make sure that those living virtually are well-nourished and will survive. After a while even the workers begin to become addicted to being in virtual reality and the entire building is left with no one taking care of it. The story really begins when the main character discovers the building and start communicating with one of the few workers left. He has to stop a virus from taking over the system and killing everybody inside the virtual-reality environment. This book showed me that virtual and synthetic reality can have some very dire consequences if left unchecked. People are addicted to Facebook right now, so does that mean that they will not be addicted to the technologies that are released in the years to come?
(image from http://www.tony5m17h.net/)
Synthetic reality brings up a lot of ethical and moral questions that we as a species must learn to discuss and figure out the correct answers to. We cannot just jump right into the virtual world and not think about its consequences and how it really affects us. We have to think about how it affects our physical bodies, if it has any potential side effects in the present time or in the future. I have seen too many science fiction shows and movies to be content with letting things continue as they are. The second article that we read seems to have a very optimistic view of synthetic reality and all the good things that it will provide for the human race. I would love to have an optimistic view of what these technologies can do, but I am unable to at this time. The last thing that I want is for humanity to become merely an echo of what it used to be. If we take things slowly and think over things before we rush right into them, we could easily avoid being trapped inside a metaphorical pyramid of our own desires as we slowly wither and die away.