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A Virtual World

October 26, 2010 10 comments

Writers live in their own little worlds much of the time. Hey, I can’t help it if everyone can’t find the time to work and play the way we do. Our minds think up so many fantastic scenarios. And SF writers think up some doozies that have stuck with us as everyday objects in our homes.

Those SF writers do the mental designs, write them down, creating written Virtual Worlds for any reader who picks them up to read. Afterwards, they have the privilege of sitting back and seeming smug when the world takes hold of one of their ideas and makes it tangible and available.

I find myself mind-boggled when I think about how much has been created in the name of using one’s mind. Billions in research has gone toward producing a viable Virtual World application that can be enjoyed by the masses.

For instance: The Air Force put together a specialized helmet a bunch of years ago that would allow the pilot to simply think about a maneuver and have his plane perform it. It was tested and found plausible and usable if the pilot was specially trained to use it. And before you wonder how I know that, I saw a documentary on it several years ago and leave it at that. Nothing classified here. It came from SF.

Serious talk had it that the military purchased the rights to quite a few of the designs and concepts used on the original Star Trek series. Researchers are reportedly working on several applications taken from the Star Trek series. When Next Generation warped out to the Rim, the concepts and designs used were sold off, or so the story goes.

Japanese researchers have been working on a working holographic TV since the 80’s as reported on the Discovery channel during ‘88-‘89 or thereabouts. They’d managed it, too. A research facility in California reported a few years ago about having actually “transported” an inanimate object from Point A to Point B without inherent damage to the object. That’s impressive.

So here we have transporters, holo deck capability (at least up to a point), other researchers are working on replicators with some success, and one engineer has figured out how to build a hydrogen collecting ram-jet (if I heard what he said correctly on the Science Channel.) Think about it. We’re almost to a point of creating an Enterprise to rival the UFoP.

Nanotechnology is ready to explode. It’s being tested now for medical applications. I think it was AP that reported that a few months back.

I know that you’re wondering what all that has to do with a Virtual World. Well, it’s like this. When I was a kid, everyone under the age of 18 lived in a virtual world as routine. It was called an imagination. We figured out everything. I think I was 11 when I figured out how to build everything I could think of, including a pedal car, out of various diameter bamboo.

Gilligan’s Island did that, you say. That’s true. They did. But I did it in the fifties. I didn’t know about all the SF greats at that time and had never read any of their books. I just knew that there were planets out there beyond our knowing that had intelligent life on them and that sometime before the world ended, we’d get to see them. That subject is still being debated.

Kids back then all knew how to make up stories and see them in their heads. As far as we were concerned we really were on those other planets, in that hot desert looking for a watering hole, or designing a new two-story house from whatever we could find on the forest floor.

Today, kids have video games that present images that might as well be real. Many are violent. All I’ve heard are loud enough to wake several zombies and send them out on the street to get away from the noise.

The idea of actually thinking up their own stories and games seems to have escaped many of the last two generations of children. I wonder if we’ve paid too heavy a price for the actual reality of virtual reality.

Would it have been so terrible to leave our children to the devices of their own imaginations rather than plopping them down in front of the games they use now?

If you have a comment, feel free to leave it. I’d like to hear it.

A bientot,

Claudsy