Possible Worlds: The Social Dynamic of Virtual Reality Technology

By Ralph Schroeder | Go to book overview
Save to active project

6
The Spirit in the Machine

In recent years, computer-related technologies, including virtual reality, the Internet, and artificial intelligence, have given rise to new ways of thinking about the role of technology in society. This new mode of thought can be labeled cyberculture, and central to it is the notion that new technologies can radically alter the way we live. Here we shall examine cyberculture mainly in relation to VR, as these ideas are bound to shape the image of VR technology, much as the ideas of "hackers" shaped the image of the personal computer. But cyberculture is also part of a wider shift in our conception of technology and I shall argue that even if the cybercultural worldview is closer to science fiction than to the current state of science and technology, it is nevertheless worth examining, since this wider shift may have far-reaching implications.

Cyberculture has a number of incarnations, including academic theorizing and youth culture. What they have in common is a vision of the future in which technology radically alters the relation between humans and machines and thus gives rise to new cultural possibilities. Some of the pioneers of VR technology, including Brenda Laurel and Jaron Lanier, have been among the principal exponents of cybercultural ideas, suggesting that the creation of virtual worlds and of shared cyberspaces will have revolutionary social consequences and allow hitherto unimagined forms of human expression.

Laurel and Lanier's view is echoed in the work of academic theorists like Donna Haraway and Alluquere Rosanne Stone, who believe that new technologies may have radical political ramifications, an idea they pursue through the image of cyborgs that blur the distinction between humans and machines. 1 Within youth culture, these themes find expression, for example, in magazines such as Wired and in cy

-123-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Possible Worlds: The Social Dynamic of Virtual Reality Technology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 203

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?