Friday, March 5, 2010

Real baby starves, virtual baby survives

Virtual baby? Yes, one apparently can, as a virtual character in several game environments, give birth to a baby, feed it, and raise it.

Of course escaping the oh so limiting constraints of what we call 'physical reality', this baby can definitely have two heads.

Something about virtual babies gives me the creeps though. It just takes a lot of forced imagination to actually think this is cute and loveable - not that the appearance of a baby should influence the love it gets shared, but this still seems a common perspective. Anyway, if there were a lake in the uncanny valley, this for me is definitely deeply submerged in it.

But, people fall for the traps of the virtual world, especially when it allows them escape from hard situations in the 'real' world. Today, a baby in Korea has died from neglect by its parents. They were busy, as in, 12 hours a day busy, raising a virtual child in the game Prius online.

I do see the temptation; it is safe, it looks and feels good to be in the virtual world, it allows you to somewhat live out your dreams of a harmonious, peaceful life in an idyllic realm with purple skies and what not, and time is not an issue. The real world is dirty, messy, chaotic, and it for sure doesn't care about your emotional system. Virtual world are so great because we can control them, and in case it gets uncomfortable we can just get out in an instant.

We need to come back to the physical world though, and learn to appreciate its characteristics, as well as coming to see that we ourselves are not different. But this needs to happen through more virtualization, more cyborgization, until even the physical world can be digitally controlled. In this case, what would have happened if the virtual and real child would have been intrinsically linked - maybe even in the most superficial way with a few parameters - ? I think the love for both would only have increased. Let the world become more like a game, make real life attractive again, and then guide people towards living in line with physicality again.

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