Escapism and Virtual Reality - Copy

Escapism and Virtual Reality - Copy - Escapism and Virtual...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Escapism and Virtual Reality ABSTRACT The use of computers in society provides obvious benefits and some drawbacks. `Virtual Reality', a new method of interacting with any computer, is presented and its advantages and disadvantages are considered. The human aspect of computing and computers as a form of escapism are developed, with especial reference to possible future technological developments. The consequences of a weakening of the sense of reality based upon the physical world are also considered. Finally, some ways to reduce the unpleasant aspects of this potential dislocation are examined. A glossary of computing terms is also included. Computers as Machines The progression of the machine into all aspects of human life has continued unabated since the medieval watchmakers of Europe and the Renaissance study of science that followed Clocks . Whilst this change has been exceedingly rapid from a historical perspective, it can nevertheless be divided into distinct periods, though rather arbitrarily, by some criteria such as how people travelled or how information was transferred over long distances. However these periods are defined, their lengths have become increasingly shorter, with each new technological breakthrough now taking less than ten years to become accepted (recent examples include facsimile machines, video recorders and microwave ovens). One of the most recent, and hence most rapidly absorbed periods, has been that of the computer. The Age of Computing began with Charles Babbage in the late 19th century Babbage , grew in the calculating machines between the wars EarlyIBM , continued during the cryptanalysis efforts of World War II Turing,Bletchley and finally blossomed in the late 1970's with mass market applications in the developed countries (e.g. JapanSord ). Computers have gone through several `generations' of development in the last fifty years and their rate of change fits neatly to exponential curves Graphs , suggesting that the length of each generation will become shorter and shorter, decreasing until some unforeseen limit is reached. This pattern agrees with the more general decrease of length between other technological periods.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
The great strength of computers whether viewed as complex machines, or more abstractly as merely another type of tool, lies in their enormous flexibility. This flexibility is designed into a computer from the moment of its conception and accounts for much of the remarkable complexity that is inherent in each design. For this very reason, the uses of computers are now too many to ever consider listing exhaustively and so only a representative selection are considered below. Computers are now used to control any other machine that is subject to a varying environment, (e.g. washing machines, electric drills and car engines). Artificial environments such as hotels, offices and homes are maintained in pre-determined states of comfort by computers in the thermostats and lighting circuits. Within a high street shop or major business,
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 03/22/2008 for the course PP 315 taught by Professor Shew during the Spring '08 term at N.C. State.

Page1 / 16

Escapism and Virtual Reality - Copy - Escapism and Virtual...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online