Saturday, April 18, 2020

Virtual is the new Reality

Martin Scorsese once said, 'When it's personal, it's real.'

Sociologists might say, when it's social, it's real.'  By that, we mean that things become real ('reified') when we collectively treat them as real.

After years of referring to online experiences as 'virtual reality,' society has almost instantly and almost universally come to accept that when we do things online, they are no less 'real' than they were with physical proximity.

Virtual drinks with friends, virtual holiday gatherings and virtual catch-ups remind us that the feelings we have for and with others can be just as intense when we experience it in mediated space. One might wonder what took us so long to discover the reality of virtual worlds.

Necessity is, of course, the big driver for doing things differently, but I believe there are two other reasons for this phenomenon.  For some, it's the herd mentality, i.e., everyone's doing and so should I. The other factor is, at least in some societies is an element of altruism, where using new technology is associated with being a team player, a good citizen, or at least a good sport.

While new and even more radical technologies have been adopted by humans forever, but I don't know of any time when so many people took up a new way of work in such a short time.  It may not be much fun, but we're living history.  Let's keep good notes.

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