From Theory to Practice
Chapter 1: Introduction 11
11 Chapter 1: Introduction The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games […] Cyberspace. A consen- sual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts […]. A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding into the dis- tance […]. (Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984) What are Virtual Worlds? When William Gibson coined the term cyberspace in his novel Neu- romancer (1984), the Internet as we now know it did not yet exist. While some of the concepts discussed in that novel are still in the realm of fantasy, others, such as the “consensual hallucination” of Virtual Worlds, are now among the most popular activities available online. Some might argue that a new technology hits the mainstream when Hollywood decides to make a movie about it. In the case of Virtual Worlds (VWs) the past few years have seen several blockbus- ters. In 2010, the movie Avatar became the best-selling movie of all time, telling the story of a man who used another body—his avatar— to exist in a new world. In 2009, Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, told the story of a future world where the humans stayed home, and their idealized robot bodies (their surrogates, or avatars) went out into the world. Earlier, The Matrix (1999) told the story in reverse, with the humans existing as...
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