Virtual world accessing us

Eldest girl  is away from home. She’s been gone for over 4 months now visiting relatives in New Zealand and having a good time all round.

Speaking to her on skype this morning  reminded me of a picture I took on her birthday. It it holds the moment where she blows out the candles on her birthday cake. The cake was baked and eaten in one part of the world, the candles were blown out  from the other side  –  must admit  we helped her a little by attaching a little bellows to the laptop and synchronising its efforts with hers. Skype is opening up a whole new realm of experience that sits somewhere between the real and the virtual – which is nice! Does not substitute for a real birthday kiss, though …

Skype is not alone in enabling us to reach out –  overcoming the limited capabilities of the human body has been the goal of people through the ages . And now there is Google wanting to help us think! Check this 2010 quote from Sergey Brin, Googler of the first hour:

We want Google to be the third half of your brain.”

Styling my blog my ‘external memory’ has been unusually prescient! Living with a laptop on my kitchen table and a mobile phone glued to my hand I am willing to consider them extentions of my brain.  I’m also willing to concede that the boundaries between real and virtual are fading – if there has ever been such a thing as an observable reality, that is. I have a sea of information, of options and of possibilities that are literally at my fingertips – and I’m sure this has (or will have) an effect on the brain.

But what effect? We badly need a Mary Shelley or an Isaac Asimov to help us  think  through the extremes of new technology. And the idea that while we access a virtual world  this virtual world accesses us.



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