The Virtual Hoax, Vs Reality

The virtual hoax, Vs Reality

Listening to Mark Zuckerberg talk about his evolution from Facebook to Meta, the next horizon in the human-machine interface, it occurred to me that we have quite happily run this separate existence between the Virtual and real world.. Interview here with Lex Fridman

Meta’s view is to shift a vast number of our interactions into, (not on to) a digital sphere where can interact, communicate and display either our flesh faces or avatars with fancy clothes from a  virtual wardrobe. Paying real money to be dressed in the fashion of the day. (Thrift shops will be interesting.)

I found myself intrigued and slightly uncomfortable at the thought of this because it isn’t real, or is it?  

We have thought that the real and the virtual worlds are two separate entities, whereas what happens in “cyberspace” (perhaps the worse term ever invented!) is totally unrelated to what happens in the “meat space,” (an equally hateful term)

I am going to put it to you dear reader, that the two are not separate.

That your interactions in the virtual world are as real as your interactions in the “real” world.

This begs the bigger question, what is Reality?

Surely reality exists, whether you are talking to your best friend, or posting a comment on a news blog. Whether you are sharing a beer with your mates at a party or are being triggered by some guy on the net expounding that the world is flat.

Ask anyone that has been bullied online or anyone that has debated the latest science/truth/lie with complete a stranger, a person that is not connected in any way with you yet seems to draw your wrath and ire. Are the feelings any less real?

We seem to think, well that is online, and I can take it or leave it. However, what if we were to run into that person in real life…Oh, spoiler alert! but commenting online is “real life”

Just because you type something on a device in the comfort of your home, and then the words are sent via a binary signal, and ends on displaying for the whole world to see, is no less “real” than yelling obscenities at the person that cut you off on our drive home…, in fact, no one can generally hear you when you shout in your car, but then can when you post it online.

Our online avatar or persona is just an extension of ourselves. We think we can hide behind our keyboard, but maybe we are more real in the hustle and milieu of the online space.

Maybe, the rudeness that we can easily exhibit to someone that must be an idiot, (because why the hell can’t they see that they are so wrong?) may really be shining the spotlight on who we really are.

When the gloves come off, when we know we are under no real physical threat, we can really unleash our biases and our hatred, or our prejudices and our need to be right.

This still leaves us with the questions

Will Meta be the place we need in the future?

Is it what we need?

Is it what we want?

Or even deserve?

I believe it is inevitable, and Meta will not be the only online space, and as we shift more online, our reality will change, but will we learn to be more tolerant and kinder, or will it increase our abusive and rude selves. Only time will tell.

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