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Computer Literacy

In: Computers and Technology

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Virtual Reality
Or
Virtual Renegade?
INF103
Computer Literacy
Instructor: Lameika Gupton
August 19, 2013

Outline

* Introduction * Question: Is virtual reality another tactic organized by the government to control society? * Thesis: Due to the invasion of privacy from tapping into phones to trying to censor the Internet, it is most probable to conclude that virtual reality, which includes altering the mindsets of humans to believe they are in a stable world except they are not, is another allure transpired by governmental forces to control society.

* Caution or Control? * Wiretapping * Internet Censorship

* Allure * Virtual Reality Tactics

* Cons of Artificial Intelligence/Virtual Reality * Scientific and Technical Problems With Virtual Reality

* Negation * Pros of Virtual Reality

* Comparison to Cons of Virtual Reality

* Conclusion

Virtual Reality or Virtual Renegade?
According to Merriam – Webster online, democracy is defined by “a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections, c. : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority” (Merriam – Webster, 2013). In each of these definitions, the reader may see that they all include ruling by the “people”, which reveals that the catch phrase “for the people, by the people” sums up almost entirely the notion of democracy. However; what is created when this constitute no longer applies? What happens when people no longer control their own natural reactions, but instead are controlled by computers and/or technology? To throw another bone in, it is silly to believe that everyone on Earth will be controlled by technology. In order for the world to survive, there would have to be someone monitoring technology; who else but government, an entity who is already in control of society. With the recent invasions of human privacy such as tapping phone lines and censoring the Internet, I argue that virtual reality is another allure transposed by Government to keep society under their control and power.
Wiretapping and/or electronic eavesdropping involves the interception of phone calls or any other electronic transmittal, usually without consent. In growing up, we are told that in order to do with other’s belongings or possessions, we must first gain their consent; without their consent, we do not have the right to touch, to mess, or to deal with their things. In the same sense, why is it justifiable that government is allowed to wiretap without consent? If all are not allowed, why exclude one? Are we not all created equal and exercise the same rights? In our society, we are told no. Although we are a democratic society, it seems as if at times, depending on varying circumstances, government is permitted to go against the law. Additionally, although we as a people have not consented for government to censor our Internet, they still have done so. Located on Huffingtonpost.com is a chart listing all the sites government has asked Google to censor and one of the top reasons being? Defamation:

Takedown Requests In The U.S.
Interesting enough, defamation is the leading reason why Government has asked Google to censor certain sites. The problem that permits is if Government was or is not who or what these “defamers” claim them to be, then why would they feel the need to censor it? To put the light at the other end of the spectrum, if Government were as great and/or was for the people as they claim, then no amount of slander could steer the American people to view the Government in a negative light. Wiretapping and Internet censorship, although not fully determined legal, still occurs in the shadows, as we humans are caught up in the allure of technology and its new advancements. There was a time when the only mobile devices people had were beepers, however; technology has advanced in the most exponential manner that we currently have smart phones. Smart phones allow us to not only talk and text on the phone, but also various other duties that a computer would such as check emails, send documents, browse the Internet, and find locations. With the allure of smart phones comes the catch of now transmitting personal and confidential information into our phones, allowing unwanted users or hackers to view our data without our consent. In addition, there was a time when the typewriter was the only machine used for data entry, but in present day, we have laptops, desktop computers, and also netbooks. With these fancy gadgets, Web 2.0 had also been created. In our text, we read that “Web 1.0 was the ability to perform read-only but with the creation of Web 2.0, we are able to read and write” (Bowles, 2010). This notion is shown on our social networks as we post statuses of how we feel or where we are going, or what we are doing. Little do we know, that with every pro comes a con. By inputting our information on such sites as Facebook, Twitter, or Blogger, we subject ourselves to a lifetime of invasion of privacy. No matter how many letters or words we type, edit or delete on these sites, they are stamped in the World Wide Web indefinitely. Lastly, with the allure of virtual reality and being able to “plug in and experience what it’s like to be someone else” (Kurzweil, 2005), we set ourselves up for yet another trap. In watching Kurzweil’s video, “The Acceleration of Technology or How Technology will Transform Us”, we see just in this title, the personification of technology being in control and in actuality, changing us humans. The irony is that humans are the ones who have created technology. On another note, we learn while viewing that technology is not advancing linearly, but exponentially which explains how in 2013, we are able to have smartphones where just in 2000, phones were really just created. With the way technology is advancing, it is safe to conclude that soon our world will be controlled by computers instead of humans; the ones who were originally intended to roam the Earth. In watching Ray Kurzweil’s video, he also mentioned that “someday in the near future, computers will become so small, they will disappear, embedding themselves in our clothing and in our environment, moving to our retinas, and providing full immersion virtual reality” (Kurzweil, 2006). Computers themselves will transport themselves, which means ignoring our natural emotions, doing as they sense, and creating virtual worlds for humans without consent. To further explain “virtual reality”, the purpose of the virtual reality or virtual entertainment system is “to sense, manipulate, and transform the state of the human operator” (Durlach, 1995). If democracy is a statute put in place to ensure that laws are made “for the people, by the people”, how will this ordinance be embraced if humans are being “manipulated” by devices that they have no control of? Furthermore, how will the ordinance be embraced by humans who are being controlled by devices that are capable of malfunctioning or are not fully configuring the exact composition of the “real world”? In reading the article “10 Scientific Problems in Virtual Reality” by Zhao Qinping, he noted several issues that should be considered when producing virtual reality. He states, “Modeling real world objects requires knowing the physical forces shaping the world and the perception shaping human behavior” (Qinping, 2011). The question is how is virtual reality able to capture these crucial elements? In reading Qinping’s article further, he mentioned that “Virtual Reality is characterized by notable technology and engineering problems, as well as by problems involving computability and the physical behavior of real-world objects” (Qinping, 2011). The matter at hand is that humans will not only be controlled, but controlled by artificial creations of what is actual reality. As to not be biased, there are many pros to adopting virtual reality into our everyday lives. “Scientists have established a robot made out of molecules with the capability of going inside the human body and performing diagnostic functions. In addition, a nano-engineered device has been developed where it cures type 1 diabetes. The greatest aspect of all is if we were to replace the human blood cells with that of the robotic ones, we would be able to do an Olympic sprint for 15 minutes without taking a breath or be able to sit at the bottom of a pool for four hours” (Kurzweil, 2006). Based upon these characteristics, it would seem as if life as a human under these circumstances would be ideal. Frankly, with the addition of these nano- engineered devices which also yield us the capability of being in virtual reality, they subtract what it is to be a human and turn us more so into robots. It was not meant for us to perform an Olympic sprint in such a manner or hold our breaths for that long, less we would be born that way. Alteration of the human form has always been a controversial matter as we are told to love ourselves for who we are, yet we are pounded by exercise commercials, or allures of cosmetic surgery, topped with hair growth, male enhancement pills, and many other advertisements advising us to change ourselves. Virtual reality and the development of nano bots is just like these advertisements. In conclusion, due to the recent incidents of wiretapping and attempts to censor the Internet, virtual reality and the emergence of other technological advances are implied to be government proposed tactics to control humans. These days humans are much more knowledgeable, they are not afraid to speak their opinion nor fight for what they believe in. Acts like these are considered as threats to government like entities whose duties pertain keeping out chaos in society. Acts such as tapping phone lines, censoring the Internet, and the recent discovery of virtual reality are results of a bait and hook motive. Smart phones emerge with the allure of being able to use the Internet while texting and paying bills on a mobile device, whilst we forget that all our personal and confidential information we input into our phones are being transmitted into an array of electronic systems. Social networks are developed where humans are able to freely express ourselves, sharing our thoughts and opinions on pretty much anything we deem, yet we must share information discreetly as to not incriminate ourselves to government, our employers, our families, and sometimes even our friends. Lastly, we are told that with virtual reality, we will be able to alter our perceptions and feel what it is like to be someone else, not realizing that we are giving control to a technological device to transpose our natural and innate human emotions into emotions and feelings that a computer “senses” from us. This is not a paper to bash government or any of the like, but is a paper to be mindful of our surroundings and the changes that our taking place here in our very own environment. The word Renegade connotes many negative definitions, however; the one deemed most necessary for the context is “to break with established customs” (Merriam-Webster Online, 2003). Based on this definition in addition to our well advancement in technology, it is safe to say that this emergence of virtual reality is instead a virtual renegade.

Reference List: * Democracy." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy>
* Kurzweil, R. The Acceleration of Technology. Ted Talks.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us.html

2006.

* Bowles, Mark D., (2010) Introduction to Computer Literacy. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint

Education, Inc.

* Durlach, N.I. & Mavor, A.S. (1995). Virtual Reality [Electronic Resource]: Scientific and

Technological Challenges/ Nathaniel I. Durlach and Anne S. Mavor, editors.

Washington, D.C. National Academy Press, 1995.

* Qinping, Z (2011). 10 Scientific Problems in Virtual Reality. Communications of the ACM.

* Taylor, J (1997). The Emerging Geographies of Virtual Worlds. Geographical Review, Vol.

87, No. 2. Cyberspace and Geographical Space, Apr 1997. Published by: American

Geographical Society

* Renegade. (n.d.) WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. (2003-2008). Retrieved August 20

2013 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/renegade…...

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