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“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – The Matrix, 1999

Probably everyone is familiar with this quote, and if not, at least the movie it was extracted from. The Matrix brought up a subject which seemed a bit weird at first – humans living their life in some sort of computer program designed to imitate reality while their bodies lay motionless linked to interface machines. Sci-Fi, that’s what everyone thinks. But is it really Sci-Fi?

Be it a natural trend or not, people actually begin to spend more and more time on replicating real life (events, objects, even behavior) by creating computer models. As stated in [1], this term of “Cyberspace” has been around since 1984, but nowadays it’s beginning to fade out and be replaced by nothing else than our truly beloved Digital Humanities, which, deservedly, is a growing world-wide phenomenon, not only concentrating on literally digitizing information, but really developing some sort of interchange basis between reality as we know it, and the subsequent in-computer realm that we are slowly building.

Paper [3] brings up a subject that makes use of resources such as Game Engines to allow for easier and faster representation of “Virtual Reality Items”, which in many ways complements the idea stated in the earlier paragraph – namely – people develop ways of making this digital environment available to the masses with great ease. Unlike the case of a spoiled child that plays video games all day and does nothing productive, this particular application of 3D game engines in Digital Humanities actually brings valuable help in the field of historical analysis, geography, maybe even industry. There is another interesting point in [3], that is, making all these resources available online. Once online, this computer-aided reality embeds itself in a network, making it virtually ubiquitous and quite powerful. In my humble opinion, this should be treated with great care, as the probability of it going wrong increases. Someday, from this very useful academic and research tool, it could turn into a dangerous addictive and privacy-harmful environment, and this is why it should be handled carefully.

This Abstract-Trio cannot be complete without the analysis of paper [2] which is also quite interesting. We’ve seen so far that papers [1] and [3] orient on the transition from real to virtual. As there’s no fun in analyzing a subject without treating some totally opposite ideas, paper [2] is concentrating on the transition from virtual to real. It is clearly obvious that this ability to create physical entities based on virtual models is extremely valuable for the human being, because it enables one to give shape to his imagination. The creative process is much more efficient if you actually catch a glimpse of what it is that you’re creating. This can in many ways resemble the creative process of a music composer. Imagine the quality of the music if the composer couldn’t actually hear what he has created. Proficiency in development is based on feedback. You cannot correct a mistake if you don’t see it.

However, for a healthy version of this Cyberspace or Virtual Reality concept to arise, it is necessary to undergo development both ways, from virtual to real and then vice-versa. It is hard to foresee what the timeline of this development will be, but someway or another the virtual will become reality. Let’s just hope it’s for the best.

Oh, and don’t forget. There is no spoon.

References:

1. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/ab-161.html

2. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/workshops-009.html

3. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/ab-420.html

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