Saturday, April 18, 2009

Living in 'The Matrix'

Yesterday I heard something I thought was really funny, but got me thinking about how my 'real' life is merging with my online or virtul life.

For those who do not know, I normally live in Dunedin, New Zealand but am currently in Brisbane working on a six month contract. I flew back to Dunedin for Easter, but returned to Brisbane on Tuesday.

Yesterday I heard from Erika Pearson on Twitter, who lives in Dunedin - she said (talking about Leigh Blackall who is a mutual firend and colleague who also lives in Dunedin):

@SarahStewart you are back in Qld, right? Leigh B. swears he saw you at the Poly this morning. we think he needs his head examined! ;)

Erika and I had a laugh about this, thinking that Leigh was one step nearer senality. But what had actually happened was that Leigh had 'seen' and spoken to me in Second Life earlier that day, and we had spent a good hour and a half working together on the virtual birthing centre project.

Is 'The Matrix' nearer than we think?
The concept that the film 'The Matrix' explored of people moving in and out different worlds has clearly come true for some of us.

I love the idea that Leigh and I are able to communicate and work together together over a huge distance in such a way that he felt I was still physically in his geographical location. It gives me a sense of comfort - that I am not forgotton now that I have moved away from Dunedin.

Sorting out the virtual from reality
But at the same time, how much of a problem is it when reality starts to merge with the virtual in this way? Are we isolating ourselves from people who have no access to the Internet - have no ability to have a virtual life? Does that matter? What harm can come of this integration of 'real' and online/virtual life? Is The Matrix going to take over our humanity as forecast?

Image: 'The Matrix' Nick Slide


Pam said...

That is so amusing and so right!
Now that I am spending more and more of my time in the virtual world of social media and making connections I am so reminded of how disengaged I become to the real world when I return to it and begin to talk about what I've been doing for the day and real people give me quizzical looks because they don't know of what I speak! Unfortuantely it is easy to get tied up with the thought that I seem to have more in common with my online connections than what I do with real life people.
I'm still at that stage of trying to 'convert people' and frustrating myself so it is then I retreat to the safety haven that is my online world.

Sarah Stewart said...

@Pam I know exactly what you're talking about, and that has worried me at times because I don't want to become one of those geek-type people who spend all their time online and have no F2F friends. But having said that, I do have far more friends online & do a lot very exciting things online that I would never do F2F. What I am really enjoying now I am in Brisbane is meeting online friends in real life - it feels like I have known them for years.