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CULTURE: Twin Palms-- errr, I mean Wild Palms.

Erich Schneider May 21, 1993 8:05 PM
Posted in group: sci.virtual-worlds

In article <> "Dan D. Gutierrez" <73317.646@Co
mpuServe.COM> writes:

>Interestingly, on Nightline with Ted Kopel later on, Jaron Lanier was
>interviewed on his thoughts of where VR is heading.  I was surprised to
>hear that he believes that VR will never be "too" realistic and that it
>will always be somewhat "computerish looking."  I don't agree with this
>assessment.  It all depends of technology.  I mean TV looks pretty
>realistic now, but didn't in the beginning.  I think technology will
>eventually support any level of realism desired.

Do you have a reason for believing technology will eventually support
any level of realism desired, other than "well, technology has always
improved a lot"?

I think the analogy with TV is a poor one. Like photography, TV is
_primarily_ "mimetic" (note the qualification, all of you conceptual
video artists can put down your pitchfoks!). TV achieves a
representation of "nature" by taking an example of "nature", feeding it
into a black box, transmitting the resulting signal, feeding the
signal into another black box, and out pops the end product. The trick
is to fine-tune the transformations in the black boxes so as to
preserve the necessary aspects of the original "natural model". Note
that the difference between early TV and modern TV in terms of how
"realistic" it looks is far smaller than the same difference between
today's VR and "real reality".

VR, as described today, is more like painting that photography; more
specifically, painting things for which one has no available model.
The quest for realistic, interactive VR involves simulating physics
"from scratch" rather than letting physics do most of the work and
then performing a transformation on the end product.
Erich Schneider

"The Hierophant is Disguised and Confused."