As you flip through this slide set, you should notice that most of the terms are in common use—one of the main purposes of this set is to clarify and specify what the terms mean.  A good example would be CULTURE—used (and misused) all the time, but we want to keep to the narrow professional definition.  Note the built-in tension—on one hand all cultures are innately conservative, as people teach the young generation based on their past (“when I was growing up…”)—but at the same time cultures are constantly in a state of change, as conditions and the larger world change.  This can be seen with the discussion about “proper phone etiquette” and other aspects of social media.  Do old social norms/rules apply to new technology, or does new technology demand new social norms?  Who says?  Who decides?  Who has to follow the rules?

Note how dominant PERCEPTION is to all this discussion.  ETHNICITY is perceived—there are no strict criteria needed to be ‘ethnic’, just the 2 factors.  The same is true of COMMUNITY.  A lot of our quickly-changing world is based on what appears to be consensus, but again, consensus of whom?  Who’s left out?

Second Life is an excellent case in point, if you’ve started reading Boellsdorff—there are fairly consistent social norms in SL, but the program is only 14 years old, and most residents have only been in-world for 1 year or so.  So how did the norms develop?  How do new members learn the norms?  Why do they follow them?  What are the consequences of breaking them?  This is the central part of his study of Second Life, and applies to much of Digital Realities.

This brings us to the first of our Critical Thinking questions [called KOAN here]:


Is music more real is you hear it at a live concert with a live band? [live band, live audience, real time venue]

Is it just as real at a Hatsune Miku concert where the band is live, but the song and singer are digital? [digital singer, live backup band, live audience, real time venue]

Is it less real (how much) if you watch the Hatsune Miku LA concert grabbed by phone on youtube? –[at]

KOAN II: Trance State Clubbing:

You and some friends go out to a club featuring a famous Trance-mix DJ.  You find yourself dancing and so caught up in the music, especially the beat, that you start to forget where you are.  You haven’t had much to drink, and no drugs.  All the sudden you find yourself dancing with a rather cute [kawaii] pink elephant.

What part of this experience is real?

What part isn’t real?


Part 2–REALITIES:  As you thought over the Koan above you should have had to separate the “real” from the “unreal”.  It seems straightforward until you look at your world and how you interact with others, and then it gets complicated real quick.

Thinking of your assignments so far, draw a diagram that shows what you consider the overlap to be between physical and digital reality.

Now add in virtual worlds; virtual reality; augmented reality

Where does a Hatsune Miku concert fit in your diagram?

Sitting in my classroom in SL during our Wednesday class session?

VIRTUAL REALITY has become the hot topic in tech circles in the last 3-4 years, especially with Facebook’s purchase of the Oculus Rift VR system.  When a large number of people will be willing to stick headsets on for extended periods of time remains to be seen, especially because at it’s core VR assumes opposition to physical reality—so the two have to be isolated from each other.

By contrast AUGMENTED REALITY [key player is probably Microsoft Hololens] overlays physical reality with digital aspects—a Hatsune Miku performance is augmented reality.  This Hololens review gives a good idea of current thinking [at:] which discusses the differences between AR and VR.

The VR-AR Koan is looking at this dividing line—in your view which one is personally more compelling?

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