History of theVirtual World Prehistory of the virtual and the history of virtual technology
Prehistory of the Virtual • Humans have experienced a virtual reality for thousands of years during the time of cavemen. • Before technology made this virtual world possible, humans have made themselves to believe in god-like myths and spiritual beings that have been passed down through ancient forms of art and folklore.
“Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave…..Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way…..They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave.” -Plato
Real Word vs. Virtual World • Based on this passage, Plato alluded to the real world being no more than the shadow of the truth. • Its like everything we experience in everyday life was just made to seem real through our “limited” perception of it. • During Plato’s time, the real world was no more than a virtual one. • However we have reversed these ideas where the virtual world has become our reality.
What is the Meaning of “Virtual”? • The term “virtual” came from “virtue” or physical qualities of something (e.g. the heat of sunshine). • Virtual refers to the physical essences these qualities have in the minds of its creators while still being something abstract in the real world.
History of Virtual Technology • Technology has made it possible to expand on these concepts of virtual reality. • Different forms of technology have made it possible to build an entrance to each others imagined spaces. • This was especially made possible with inventions that made it easier to communicate with others without being near them in person. • Inventions like the telephone opened up a third space that linked the two sides known as the “virtual place.”
Immersive Virtual Spaces • Attempts made after this creation of this virtual space have made it more immersive with the addition of more real world qualities. • Example a motorcycle arcade game where one can sit on a toy motorcycle with their hands on the handlebars while looking up at a screen that interacts with the movements of the player.
Cybernetics • Cybernetic refers to a kind of communication between machines and living things. • Through the addition of these concepts, virtual worlds are made even more interactive as humans like us are able to manipulate and control what goes within them. • This makes virtual worlds seem more real rather than something we just see like a movie vs. a video game.
Fantasy and the Imagination • Virtual worlds were made possible as well as limited by ones own imagination of what its like. • Fantasy and Sci-Fi have been the fundamental basis to the imaginings of these virtual worlds. • Television series like “Star Trek” and books like “Lord of the Rings” have allowed us to open up our minds into many different worlds. • This led to the creation of virtual realities that consist of many unique characteristics outside of what we experience in the real world.
Cyberpunk • Cyberpunk refers to an era where its main focus revolves around forms of higher tech with that of low life human beings. • This idea brought upon forms of literature and movies that questioned the concept of virtual realities in relation to us. • Examples of these include movies like the “Matrix” and the “The Truman Show” that separate the real world and the virtual world from the perspective of the humans living in it.