When looking at the replies to this weeks post it becomes clear that to most of us an immersive environment is technologically advanced and not yet possible in our day and age. A good example of this is virtual reality as it exists right now, but not in a way for it to be called an immersive environment.
So what could the future look like for us then? Science fiction can often give us an educated guess as to how such an environment might come to being, like in “The Matrix” by Wachowski brothers, but they often lack realism or plausibility. There is an exception to this however; Masamune Shirow’s graphic novel titled “Ghost in the Shell”. Shirow’s not to far future is set in an world where the border between human and machine has been crossed with the creation of the cyborg. Within the span of a few centuries this has allowed for human’s to not only live in the real world, but also enter the data world. It might sound far fetched, but Shirow accompanied his work with an extreme amount of notes and explanations which make his story seem very plausible. He doesn’t just address the technological aspect of his world, but also the social impact. In “Ghost in the Shell” humans no longer just live in the real world, but now also submerge into the digital world. Shirow links it to Vladimir Vernadsky’s noonpshere, which is the collective consciousness of the entire human race. Shirow also talks about the many problems that a world like this faces, as crime takes place in a place that has no solid representation or borders. Overall, a deep work, which takes a long time to fully understand and interpret.
Is this just fiction though? Of course, it is a story created to entertain, but also educate it’s audience. Shirow’s work inspired many other artists to expand on his theoretical world, and also put fresh new ideas into educated society. A great many people applaud this series, as it gives us perhaps the most plausible view of the future that we could get in fiction. Philosophers also like it because it adds to a great many debates over what the border is between humans and machines. This is one of my favourite books of all time, and I definitely see how our future could be like this. For us to fully immerse into the digital ream it would make sense for us to become part machine our selves. Our human body as it is can barely handle sitting in front of a computer for extended periods of time, so how would it possibly survive in an immersive environment? Its all still very much into the realm of speculation, but hey, we already have pacemakers for a while now, how long will it be until we begin to put other gismos into our body?
Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell