Say what you will about the corrosive effect of virtual communication on language and intimacy. I say, let it be.
Sure, technology is outpacing our ability to adapt. Sexting among middle schoolers is at least a little gross and cyberbullying reminds us that every prefrontal cortex clings to its reptilian stem like a crack whore clutches her pipe.
Email and texting and instant messaging aren’t the problem in and of themselves, though.
The problem is inexperience. We’ve yet to establish workable codes of online conduct. Barriers are flimsy and filters are porous. Sheriffs are too few and far too ineffectual and you know what? This, too, shall pass. It will.
So why does the X-Box Kinect creep me out?
The people who “become” the X-Box avatars they create … are they evolving or dissolving? Are the concert goers who cheer the holographic pop stars heightening their senses or just getting high?
Or are they chasing the same shadow that shamans have chased for thousands of years? Is there really such a clear distinction to be made between the person who spends $249 at Wal-mart for an X-Box Kinect and the one who spends ten times that amount at the Monroe Institute for an out-of-body experience?
Moore’s Law describes a mechanism not only of technological change, but societal change. Even organic change. In which case, maybe the forboding I feel is my own reptilian stem sensing the approach of an extinction-level event.
So be it.
But I can’t ignore the physical. Not yet. Email is one thing, and a dandy thing it is, but raising my glowstick in a sea of glowsticks to a figment of the collective imagination is something else entirely.
Formerly embedded here: Hatsune Miku, the vocaloid-turned-anime, in concert