Brave New Reality

An in-depth look at how virtual reality and the Internet are changing our societies and our global consciousness.

This essay is split into four main chapters. The first chapter, “Imaginary Exodus”, analyzes the term “cyberspace” and looks at how the Internet is changing, or perhaps has already changed, our lives. The second chapter, “Creating Escapes to Wonderland”, looks at the various cultural marvels the computer world has developed in order to provide us with entertainment, looking predominantly at the games market, which is already a multi-billion dollar business outstripping Hollywood’s entire yearly profits. The third chapter, Virtual Reality (VR) A Consensual Hallucination, analyzes the dream of VR and how it came to be, what it offered us, and what has become of it since the term was first coined back in the eighties, with regards to how it may already be a subtle part of our lives. The fourth and final chapter, Future Predicaments and Cyber Harbingers, deals with the effects the cultural backlash, the Internet, VR ,and computing in general, have had on the creative arts, particularly film, in relation to science fiction inspired from science fact. The conclusion, having mused upon the Brave New Reality we face, suggests a number of culturally significant hypotheses for our time and how the world might be changing with the onset of the seemingly unstoppable technological infiltration.
Cyberspace, a term coined in the early eighties by the science fiction author and theorist William Gibson, and later described as the place you are when you’re on the phone is now an everyday term in much of the Western world, if not the Eastern too. It denotes a coming of a new age, an electronic entity created out of silicon and wires that store millions and millions of bytes of information, information that governs, informs and teaches almost anything we need to know about. The Internet, a nineties phenomenon, has already taken a large chunk of this new found frontier and brought it into the homes of over sixty million net surfers within a short period of time. It is only in the last fifty years that the words computer, integrated circuit and television, amongst countless others, have become household names, and each has brought with it it’s own small revolution within the society that now not only uses them everyday, but almost depends on them.”