Sometimes I think high technology companies are just trying to build a better Sims Online, whether they’re doing this consciously or not. Maybe I’m a bit naïve for asking this, but does our obsession with the virtual betray a fear of things non-virtual?
There certainly are incentives to gate up inside our machines, and rewrite ourselves and our planet as we’d personally prefer them to be: our cities are becoming less livable, wars are going on, traveling is getting scarier, global warming, democratic deficits, etc.
This trend of hyper-coccooning and hyperreal fakery manifests in many little ways right now, most of them seemingly not that important. One such problem – casual identity fakery. I’m acquainted with one or two social troglodytes who, through online fakery, amass empires of friends on Myspace or LJ, and who sometimes manage to successfully (for a time) ride this wave in non-virtual social circles, though the results are typically disastrous. I’ve also personally experienced the terror of RL meetings with people who’ve faked their way into my online life, only to have them turn out to be someone entirely different than they claimed. Heave-ho. Just one small symptom of a larger problem of truth that I predict will soon be writ large. Very large, when we start getting into maps and stuff.