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Expert Zone > Beyond Imagination: Real Virtuality Go Back

Beyond Imagination: Real Virtuality (1)
By JoŽl de Rosnay
Director of Forecasting and Assessment
City of Science and Industry, Paris

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Intelligent agents manage interfaces by interconnecting all the existing networks, allowing people to access information and act in real time, as do the neurons of the brain. This new planetary neural hypernetwork functions chaotically, fluidly, and in a way that is constantly reconfigurable in response to decisions made in parallel by hundreds of million of interacting human agents and virtual robots. In this, it resembles the immune system, the hormonal system, and the nervous system, three interconnected networks that determine an organism's psycho-neuro-immunological behavior. Similarly, there are three main modes of human communication in networks: top-down, as in the mass media; bottom-up, as in social feedback; and transversal, as in interpersonal communication by telephone or communication among groups through interactive virtual communities. Their interconnection forms the basis for the psychology of the cybiont and contributes to its self-consciousness.

As a noninvasive interface, virtual reality is the ideal entry into cyberspace. It is an "introscope," a tool for exploring the "mind" of the cybiont. Freed from the material constraints of the body, we are able at will to explore dream - or nightmare - worlds inhabited by virtual clones and multifunctional software robots. Ubiquity, teleportation, telepresence, and cloning or duplication of the personality are all possible through the introscope. We can act on a time-sharing basis and take part in several simultaneous processes, entrusting time management to our agents, who act as impresarios or public relations officers. Working life and recreational activities weave in and out between the real world and the virtual world. Some people get lost in virtual reality; they are the new electronic addicts, cyberspace hobos living marginal lives in the infinity of hyperspace, electronic zombies eternally wandering in the limbo of virtuality. But others find a source of creative power in the pooling of brains assisted by systems of collective memory and time organization. Thanks to intelligent environments filled with computers and faithful agents, they succeed where individual brains previously failed. Symbiotic humanity, in partnership with the cybiont, has increased human creativity exponentially and made possible truly collective creativity.

We have reached a crucial stage: the emergence of a new space of imagination and waking dreams, the introsphere, the sphere of the virtual, manipulable by the mind, by the senses, by actions. Its amplification of the powers of invention of symbiotic humanity further accelerates the symbionomic evolution toward higher levels of complexity and collective consciousness. This stage is so important that it must be examined in the context of symbionomic evolution.

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