Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution
Publication Date: April 2011
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How do The Matrix, Avatar, and Tron reveal the future of existence? can our brains recognize where "reality" ends and "virtual" begins? What would it mean to live eternally in a digital universe? Where will technology lead us in five, fifty, and five hundred years?
Two innovative scientists explore the mystery and reality of the virtual and examine the profound potential of emerging digital technologies
Welcome to the future . . .
The coming explosion of immersive digital technology, combined with recent progress in unlocking how the mind works, will soon revolutionize our lives in ways only science fiction has imagined. In Infinite Reality, Jeremy Bailenson (Stanford University) and Jim Blascovich (University of California, Santa Barbara)two of virtual reality's pioneering authorities whose pathbreaking research has mapped how our brain behaves in digital worldstake us on a mind-bending journey through the virtual universe.
Infinite Reality explores what emerging computer technologies and their radical applications will mean for the future of human life and society. Along the way, Bailenson and Blascovich examine the timeless philosophical questions of the self and "reality" that arise through the digital experience; explain how virtual reality's latest and future formsincluding immersive video games and social-networking siteswill soon be seamlessly integrated into our lives; show the many surprising practical applications of virtual reality, from education and medicine to sex and warfare; and probe further-off possibilities like "total personality downloads" that would allow your great-great-grandchildren to have a conversation with "you" a century or more after your death.
Equally fascinating, farsighted, and profound, Infinite Reality is an essential guide to our virtual future, where the experience of being human will be deeply transformed.
Jim Blascovich is the director and co-founder of the Research Center for Virtual Environments at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is Distinguished Professor of Psychology. Professor Blascovich has served as the president of international scientific societies, including the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and he has been invited to lecture on social neuroscience and virtual reality topics worldwide.
“Read this book if you want to understand the future.”
-JARON LANIER, author of You Are Not a Gadget
“Brilliant, farsighted, and fascinating, Infinite Reality is an essential guide to our futures.”
-PHILIP ZIMBARDO, professor emeritus of psychology, Stanford University, and author of The Lucifer Effect
“Infinite Reality sends chills down the spine.”
-MICHAEL S. GAZZANIGA, director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara
“An exhilarating book ... Blascovich and Bailenson are ideally situated to write this guide to the new world ... Infinite Reality a must-read for anyone who wants to prepare for the coming revolution.”
-Los Angeles Times