Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Metaverse Roadmap III: Mirror Worlds and Se

Mirror Worlds (External/Simulation) (Se)
Unlike virtual worlds, which involve alternate realities that may be similar to Earth’s or wildly different, mirror worlds model the world around us. The best known example of a mirror world (MW) is presently Google Earth... Initially, MW maps were based on cartographic surveys, with informational overlays. Later maps were updated with satellite and aircraft imagery, and now some (Google Earth, military systems) are being augmented by ground-based imagery... Some futurists have proclaimed that virtual worlds, the
Internet, global outsourcing and telepresence are heralding the “end of geography.”... Gelernter is optimistic that our coming data-rich geographic simulations can give us not only tree-level insight but also forest-level “topsight” into complex global systems, many of which are presently obscure.

True Telepresence is very narrowly defined, and most uses of the word are NOT telepresence (attention Cisco). A Wikipedia definition is

Telepresence refers to a set of technologies which allow a person to feel as if they were present, to give the appearance that they were present, or to have an effect, at a location other than their true location.
Telepresence requires that the senses of the user, or users, are provided with such stimuli as to give the feeling of being in that other location. Additionally, the user(s) may be given the ability to affect the remote location. In this case, the user's position, movements, actions, voice, etc. may be sensed, transmitted and duplicated in the remote location to bring about this effect. Therefore information may be travelling in both directions between the user and the remote location.

Here, remote control of the environment is included in the definition, and so would include Extraverted Thinking (the executive), but if we only include haptic feedback methods, we're staying within the realm of Se. With additional information collected via Ne and Si methods described elsewhere, we're capable of creating a sense of 'hyper-reality' with technology - more real than real. We can't fly on our own in real life, but Google Earth allows me to zoom and pan anywhere I want. We don't have Superman's microscopic vision, but molecular modeling can illustrate chemical reactions for instruction.

Se is a Pe function, and is Typically paired with an Introverted Judgment function - either Ti or Fi. When paired with Ti (as in ISTP or ESTP), the result is a mechanistic point of view. Mirror Worlds that attempt to recreate the Real Universe in function (solids are impermeable, gravity works, measurements and location are replicated exactly, even sounds are realistic) fulfill these Type-views. When paired with Fi (as in ISFP or ESFP), the result is an aesthetic point of view (patterns and textures, music and voices, fashions and architectural details replicated, people, plants and animals exist in the environment, things are entertaining). Ji (Fi, Ti) functions are analytical, not causal - one can analyze an individual M&M until the cows come home, and one can attempt to recreate the world to the most minute details until we've essentially duplicated the world in a box. Ultimately, these are all superficial (but necessary)

Most video games, despite taking place in Ni Virtual Worlds, seem closer to Se worlds, as they are superficial and usually limited to imitating real-world physics (or some internally defined set of rules). David Brin calls this 'creating the furniture first'. Personally, as someone who rarely pays attention to my environment, I've been disenchanted by the emphasis on recreating reality in virtual worlds - but I love Google Earth, because it's relevant to the function. I doubt I'd enjoy a virtual concert with my favorite musical artists, because the 3D world is distracting to the principal aesthetic (audio) and fails to approach replication of the rest of my senses (touch and visual). I don't *need* a 3D world to enjoy a live concert when my radio will do just fine. And gawd forbid I be required to 'walk' to another location in a virtual world - I'm using computer technology to escape the limitations of the real world. Until they find a way to recreate odors, there's no point in me slowing down to smell the roses.
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