Hyperreality: Paradigm for the Third Millenium

Hyperreality: Paradigm for the Third Millenium

Hyperreality: Paradigm for the Third Millenium

Hyperreality: Paradigm for the Third Millenium

Synopsis

'HyperReality is a technological capability like nanotechnology, human cloning and artificial intelligence. Like them, it does not as yet exist in the sense of being clearly demonstrable and publicly available. Like them, it is maturing in laboratories where the question "if" has been replaced by the question "when?" and like them, the implications of its appearance as a basic infrastructure technology are profound and merit careful consideration.' - Nobuyoshi Terashima What comes after the Internet? Imagine a world where it is difficult to tell if the person standing next to you is real or a virtual reality, and whether they have human intelligence or artificial intelligence; a world where people can appear to be anything they want to be. HyperReality makes this possible. HyperReality offers a window into the world of the future, an interface between the natural and artificial. Nobuyoshi Terashima led the team that developed the prototype for HyperReality at Japan's ATT laboratories. John Tiffin studied they way HyperReality would create a new communications paradigm. Together with a stellar list of contributors from around the globe who are engaged in researching different aspects of HyperReality, they offer the first account of this extraordinary technology and its implications.This fascinating book explores the defining features of HyperReality: what it is, how it works and how it could become to the information society what mass media was to the industrial society. It describes ongoing research into areas such as the design of virtual worlds and virtual humans, and the role of intelligent agents. It looks at applications and ways in which HyperReality may impact on fields such as translation, medicine, education, entertainment and leisure. What are its implications for lifestyles and work, for women and the elderly: Will we grow to prefer the virtual worlds we create to the physical world we adapt to?HyperReality at the beginning of the third millennium is like steam power at the beginning of the nineteenth century and radio at the start of the twentieth century, an idea that has been shown to work but has yet to be applied. This book is for anyone concerned about the future and the effects of technology on our lives.

Excerpt

John Tiffin

In 1992 I convened a meeting in New Zealand of people interested in commercially designing virtual realities (VR). We met to discuss whether the Head Mounted Display Unit (HMDU) and gloves type of vr then becoming commercially available constituted a technological platform that warranted applications development. vr parlours with games like Pterodactyl were beginning to appear. Were we at the stage that film was at when it was projected in cinemas or were we at the earlier transitory stage of kinetoscope peep-show parlours?

While we were arguing the matter a fax broke into life in the corner of the conference room and out of the blue came an invitation from Nobuyoshi Terashima to look at a new vr technology he had developed that used telecommunications. It was as though he had been a telepresence at our meeting and had provided a tele-answer to our question.

Dr Terashima was at that time President of atr Communications Systems Research Laboratories. the atr (Advanced Telecommunications Research) building is located in Kansai Science City and is Japan's power-house for basic research into advanced telecommunications technologies. Terashima was leading a 10-year project (1986-96) that was to result in the prototype for HyperReality.

At the beginning the project was focused on developing technology for teleconferencing in virtual reality, but by 1992 Terashima had begun to look beyond this to the implications of having real people and real objects commingle with virtual people and virtual objects in a relatively seamless way. What would it mean for manufacturing, for medicine, for the way business was conducted? It was to explore such questions that he asked me to visit atr and talk about the work I was doing with Dr Lalita Rajasingham on the 'Virtual Class' (Tiffin and Rajasingham 1995).

In industrial societies it is transport systems and buildings that bring together the critical components of education: teachers, students, knowledge and practice. the device that brings the components of a conventional educational system into conjunction is called a classroom. Rajasingham and I had been studying the possibilities of using telecommunications to bring

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