Transferring meaning from virtual reality into physical reality.
We use metaphors to introduce unfamiliar technologies: the horseless carriage, the electric candle. Analogies place novel developments within existing structures of meanings and relationships.
For digital natives, the online realms may become more familiar than aspects of the ‘real’ world. Warfare is like a first-person shooter, New York is one of many Sim Cities, and peer groups are best understood in terms of how they relate on Facebook. When analogies are transferred from the virtual to the physical world, the traditional flow of meaning is reversed. The metaphor has boomeranged.
- First Person Shooter Disease
- Boomeranged Metaphors
- Avatarian Graveyard
- Playing Dreams
- Games become jobs: Gold farming in China
- Digital Trashcan in a Physical Office
- Games become punishment: Gold farming in prison
- Google mapping in physical space
- South Korea rules 'virtual' money on par with 'real' money
- The World is not a Desktop
Fake for Real: Digital Trashcan
At the beginning of the digital era, several metaphors from the physical world were transferred to the digital environment in order to make, otherwise incomprehensible, technology understandable. The digital trashcan from the classic Mac OS …
Fake for Real: Actress plays Virtual Character
Tomb Raider, featuring superwoman Lara Croft, was one of the most successful video games of its generation. Although many computer games had previously been created as spin-offs of Hollywood blockbusters, Tomb Raider was the first …
Fake for Real: World View
In ancient times, heroes like Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus explored unknown territories of the globe. The climax of these terrestrial explorations was reached at the beginning of the space age, when astronauts captured the …
Fake for Real: Reflections in the Cave
The Lascaux cave conserves some of the first images created by man, dating back to around 15,000 BC. The depiction of large animals on the cave walls is considered as a preparation for the hunt; …
Fake for Real: Cartoon Rats
In 2000 on a Japanese auction site, 20 real live Pokemon Pikachus were offered for 925 million dollars.
We capture each one after your order, so we guarantee its health! These are Pikachus plucked straight …
First Person Shooter Disease
Duke Nukem's disease is a scary one. Gene brings you the story of the life of a First Person Shooter..
At the start of the digital era, metaphors from everyday life were used – in what was then the new computer environment – in order to make otherwise incomprehensible technology acceptable. Terms such as the digital highway and the desktop metaphor with its windows, folders, buttons and trashcans made the computer world accessible to almost everyone.
By now, of course, the digital environment is accepted almost everywhere and we see how proven concepts from the digital realm are gradually seeping into our physical environment. We call this phenomenon a ‘boomeranged metaphor’.
Jayne Gackenbach, a professor of psychology and sociology at Grant MacEwan College, Canada has completed research which claims that video games alter the way the brain works. Gackenbach has been researching dreams for almost 30 years, and in 1997 she polled a group of her students on the effects gaming had on their dreams, with inconclusive results.
In 2004 she repeated the poll and found that frequent video game players have more “lucid dreams” (in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming) than non-gamers. Often, the dreamer can even manipulate the action or observe it in third-person, much like a video game.
Avatarian Graveyard supplies a service for virtual addicts – people who excessively or compulsively spend time in virtual environments – to help them reintegrate into everyday society.
Avatars, digital identities, alter egos and other digital shadows of their psyche can be uploaded to the Avatarian Graveyard. Once this upload is completed a compound within ignites, causing an internal burnout of the compound material and thus also destroying the circuits that hold the virtual identities. All is lost and to provide a way of coming to terms with this loss and thus helping the grieving process it is possible to scatter the ashes and use the Avatarian Graveyard as urn to place somewhere meaningful as a reminder of ones past or as the coffin shape suggests, one can also burry the object.
The service, proposed by designer Ivo de Boer, should help them to come to turns with their addiction and confronts hem at the same time with their past.
Mark Weiser (originally written for ACM Interactions).
What is the metaphor for the computer of the future? The intelligent agent? The television (multimedia)? The 3-D graphics world (virtual reality)? The StarTrek ubiquitous voice computer? The GUI desktop, honed and refined? The machine that magically grants our wishes? I think the right answer is “none of the above”, because I think all of these concepts share a basic flaw: they make the computer visible.
A good tool is an invisible tool. By invisible, I mean that the tool does not intrude on your consciousness; you focus on the task, not the tool. Eyeglasses are a good tool – you look at the world, not the eyeglasses. The blind man tapping the cane feels the street, not the cane. Of course, tools are not invisible in themselves, but as part of a context of use. With enough practice we can make many apparently difficult things disappear: my fingers know vi editing commands that my conscious mind has long forgotten. But good tools enhance invisibility.
I think the value of invisibility is generally understood. Unfortunately, our common metaphors for computer interaction lead us away from the invisible tool, and towards making the tool the center of attention.
Take multimedia. The idea, as near as I can tell, is that people already spend hours a week at home watching television, so clearly television is attractive, and we want our computer interfaces to be attractive, so let’s put TV into them. To mention a few things that may be …
Chinese workers slaying monsters to earn gold for western consumers. It sounds surreal, but it is a far from virtual reality for the so-called ‘gold farmers’, who are working in 10-hour shifts to help players gain levels, and wealth, in online roleplaying games like World of Warcraft.
For thousands of Chinese workers, gold farming is a way of life. Workers earn between €85-€130 a month which, given the long hours and night shifts, can amount to as little as 30 cent an hour. After completing a shift, they are given a basic meal of rice, meat and vegetables and falls into a bunk bed in a room that eight other gold farmers share. Wages may be low, but food and accommodation are included. You can hire your own gold farming slave …
The Swedish design group Front brings the principle of the digital computerdesktop trashcan back to the physical world. When your trashcan basket is full it bulges outward. When half-full, it is in permanent motion. The internal basket pushes downward while the external slats try to maintain an upright position.
This product is an illustrative example of a so–called ‘boomeranged metaphor‘. At the beginning of the computer era, objects and experiences from everyday life were recreated in the digital domain, so that …
Games become punishment: Gold farming in prison
Remember the gold farmers in China who put in eye-straining hours to earn virtual money in World of Warcraft? Gold farming has now made the leap to the country’s corrupt penal system. Along with back-breaking physical …
Google mapping in physical space
Aram Bartholl’s Map project converts Google map markers into physical objects that can be moved around public spaces. The size of the rebuilt red Marker in reality corresponds to the size of a marker in …
South Korea rules 'virtual' money on par with 'real' money
Our regular readers know that whenever we write about money in these quarters, we always feel obliged to write the words ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ between brackets, as money is by definition virtual – and hence, …