net.reality

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Hans Gerwitz

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May 21, 1993, 2:31:05 PM5/21/93
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I have heard much talk along the lines of the future 'net... Many people
envision a day when we all embody a virtual 'self': recall the thread
concerning rendering... where a C-64 user would see only polygon outlines,
while a Cray user would see textured surfaces with smooth movement.

The question I pose: Why?

The function of the 'net, and the allure, is the exchange of information and
opinions. Interaction in the form of IRC is amusing, but unless you spend your
entire life jacked in, you will miss many contributions. USENET, on the other
hand, allows you to consume the contributions of everyone who uses that
group... the only decent standard we have for this is the writen word, on a
two-dimensional surface. What would be the use of strapping into a DataSuit so
you could sit at a virtual console and read messages on a virtual screen?
Along these lines, flat displays will have a far greater effect on the
efficency of the 'net than VR.

So, if the 'net is to use the magic of virtual reality, WITHOUT becoming
reduced to a useless gaming arena, what must we do? It seems that a new form
of information conveyance is needed... of course, sound/voice is a natural
conclusion, but that does not use VR to its advantages... Perhaps we need a
three-dimensional alphabet/language? Perhaps the interactivity of it all will
be the key... instead of posting a list of arguements, we will set up a sort of
Vworld... SHOW someone what you feel the implications of a political or
technological idea mean to you...

any opinions? What must we do to take on exciting new (well, quasi-new)
technologies without sacrificing the essence of the cyberspace?

Hans Gerwitz (Samhain Nivhwvs), please address E-Mail as follows,
from INTERNET: sempco!hger...@wupost.wustl.edu
UUCP: wupost.wustl.edu!sempco!hgerwitz

Paul dArmond

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May 21, 1993, 11:24:09 PM5/21/93
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This is a big issue, not just among CP, but out in the real world where
the datadroids are trying to generate product. I don't think that
cyberspace is much of an answer. Who is gonna be able to jack in to that
stuff anyway?

Corporate and military droids, that's who.

I've heard sme very good things about WorldWeb from friends who've demo
it, but haven't seen it myself. It sounds like it is a
platform-independant GUI for internet. Free, wild, and good. The only
hassle is that you need a pretty expensive graphics terminal and highspeed
access.

The thing that always bothered me about Gibson's description of cyberspace
is that he was never clear about what the percieved distances meant. The
spatial metaphor never seemed to have any content. I design interactive
videodisc software, and I can tell you that nobody has a shared model for
visual/data organization that makes sense for everything. On the other
hand, we've only been messing around with this for a decade or so. A
cultural metaphor just hasn't had time to develop.

Most of the stuff done is on the book or video metaphor. These are both
really linear / sequential forms. It is real easy to get lost in a
multi-dimensional infinitely scrolling(?) environment. Navigation is a
BIG problem and some wild blue-sky brainstorming is needed here. Anybody
care to take a crack at spec'ing out what cyberspace really means and how
it works? The first one to do it gets to be the next Bill Gates. (ick)

Keep your eyes peeled for streaming CD-ROM XA multimedia stuff coming out
right now. Newsweek is putting out a quarterly interactive multi-media
XA-CD. The corporate marketeers are going to be on this stuff real quick,
but they haven't figured out how to make the ads work. Yet....

The XA stuff is pretty cool, since it is device independant. On the other
hand, most of the multi-media stuff is pretty lame. Very few people grasp
the full implication of non-linear media.

EM550

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May 22, 1993, 10:48:09 AM5/22/93
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In article <hgerwi...@sempco.UUCP> hger...@sempco.UUCP (Hans Gerwitz) writes:
[stuff deleted]

>Vworld... SHOW someone what you feel the implications of a political or
>technological idea mean to you...
[stuff deleted]

Isn't the current standard of the 'net adequite (sp?)? Do we really need a
total VR environment to put across a point, or describe a situation? I find
it hard to envisage usage of graphical (or other VR aspects) components
to SHOW someone something. Short of directly transmitting your physical
emotions via computer (surely impossible in the near future), what can we do
other than simple graphs / maps / simbolism / simulations / etc. Maybe I've
missed your point, could you elaborate?


-----> Damian Lettie <-----
-----> em...@yoyo.cc.monash.edu.au <-----
-----> EM550 : Eternal Mystery 550 <-----
-----> "Nothing is real until you dream it." <-----

Hans Gerwitz

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May 22, 1993, 1:25:53 PM5/22/93
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PA| Very few people grasp
PA| the full implication of non-linear media.

agreed. Most of what I have seen is simply an interactive form of
storage/retrieval of traditional media... We need true interactivity to become
the standard it deserves to be. Example: would you learn more from a simple
diatribe about the dynamics of urban design, or from an essay tied in with a
simulation program along the lines of Maxis' SimCity? Perhaps simulation is
the key... only method of true interactive education I have seen.

PA| The corporate marketeers are going to be on this stuff real
PA| quick, but they haven't figured out how to make the ads work.
PA| Yet....

brings up another question I have. I'm certain most of us have read the Time
"Information Highway" stint... however uninformative and immature it may have
been. What about advertisings role in financing such a project? Do we attempt
to distinguish between consumer and business use, and charge people for
"storefronts"? Perhaps a flat fee for interactive ability, or a Mb transferred
rate... Certainly we do not expect the consumers to pay for it themselves.
How many of us would be here now if entry to this space carried a $150/month
fee for our personal use? A few, certainly, but not enough to continue
productive use.

nug...@genesis.nred.ma.us

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May 22, 1993, 11:57:38 PM5/22/93
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Read the book Cyberspace: First Steps... it gives a very technical
insight on what the future Cyberspace technologies can be used for etc.
We won't just read messages in Cyberspace..there are many benefits of
visualizing data in 3 dimensions... a lot of complex scientific data can
be represented that way for easier access etc... Silicon Mirage also
has a lot of stuff on that... it talks about virtual teleconferencing..
how body language is as much a part as conversation as the human voice..
so on-line negotiations etc. in Cyberspace would benefit from the 3-D
representations with facial expressions..etc.. there's a lot more to Cyberspace
than just messages..
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nug...@genesis.nred.ma.us

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May 23, 1993, 12:01:09 AM5/23/93
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In article <rodlettie.1...@halls1.cc.monash.edu.au> rodl...@halls1.cc.monash.edu.au (EM550) writes:
>In article <hgerwi...@sempco.UUCP> hger...@sempco.UUCP (Hans Gerwitz) writes:
>[stuff deleted]
>>Vworld... SHOW someone what you feel the implications of a political or
>>technological idea mean to you...
>[stuff deleted]
>
>Isn't the current standard of the 'net adequite (sp?)? Do we really need a
>total VR environment to put across a point, or describe a situation? I find
>it hard to envisage usage of graphical (or other VR aspects) components
>to SHOW someone something. Short of directly transmitting your physical
>emotions via computer (surely impossible in the near future), what can we do
>other than simple graphs / maps / simbolism / simulations / etc. Maybe I've
>missed your point, could you elaborate?

Well let's see.. would it be easier to envision a complex Physics
problem written out on a piece of paper or with a 3-D demonstration you can
fully interact with? The fact is, complex data, problems, etc. are much
easier to understand with visuals than with standard textbook writing etc.
If you can have a 3-D virtual world where you could use a virtual lab to
do problems etc. you can get a better understanding of complex subjects.
With the ability to network many virtual worlds through Cyberspace you can
not only work stuff out by yourself but call in people from all over the
planet to share findings etc... Cyberspace will have a lot of benefits from
entertainment to scientific research etc..

nug...@genesis.nred.ma.us

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May 23, 1993, 4:54:08 PM5/23/93
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In article <hgerwi...@sempco.UUCP> hger...@sempco.UUCP (Hans Gerwitz) writes:
>PA| Very few people grasp
>PA| the full implication of non-linear media.
>
>agreed. Most of what I have seen is simply an interactive form of
>storage/retrieval of traditional media... We need true interactivity to become
>the standard it deserves to be. Example: would you learn more from a simple
>diatribe about the dynamics of urban design, or from an essay tied in with a
>simulation program along the lines of Maxis' SimCity? Perhaps simulation is
>the key... only method of true interactive education I have seen.
>
>PA| The corporate marketeers are going to be on this stuff real
>PA| quick, but they haven't figured out how to make the ads work.
>PA| Yet....
>
>brings up another question I have. I'm certain most of us have read the Time
>"Information Highway" stint... however uninformative and immature it may have
>been. What about advertisings role in financing such a project? Do we attempt
>to distinguish between consumer and business use, and charge people for
>"storefronts"? Perhaps a flat fee for interactive ability, or a Mb transferred
>rate... Certainly we do not expect the consumers to pay for it themselves.
>How many of us would be here now if entry to this space carried a $150/month
>fee for our personal use? A few, certainly, but not enough to continue
>productive use.
>
Yeah, the Time article was a bit ill-researched.. it only concerned
itself with interactive cable.. (although I did use some of the stuff in my
seinor paper on Cyberspace..) but it did bring up an interesting point..
how are we going to pay for such a service..whether 3-D VR cyberspace or
interactive cable? Advertisers would help carry a lot of the cost, especially
when a wide audience gains access... but there has to be some sort of monthly
fee etc.. if you did a pay by MB it could get expensive... but the monthly
fee would have to be pretty small. Ultimately, such a resource should be
free (such as network TV)...but I really don't see that happening..I don't
think advertisers will pay that much as to eventually make such a service
free (mostly.. maybe paying for certain special services but the main stuff
would be cost free..?)..

David Arnold

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May 23, 1993, 7:51:51 PM5/23/93
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Hans Gerwitz (hger...@sempco.UUCP) wrote:
: I have heard much talk along the lines of the future 'net... Many people

..

: The function of the 'net, and the allure, is the exchange of information and


: opinions. Interaction in the form of IRC is amusing, but unless you spend your
: entire life jacked in, you will miss many contributions. USENET, on the other
: hand, allows you to consume the contributions of everyone who uses that
: group... the only decent standard we have for this is the writen word, on a
: two-dimensional surface. What would be the use of strapping into a DataSuit so
: you could sit at a virtual console and read messages on a virtual screen?
: Along these lines, flat displays will have a far greater effect on the
: efficency of the 'net than VR.


have a look at a book (yeah, paper. strange medium) called

title: mirror worlds
author: david gelernter

he's a CS researcher at Yale, with some very interesting ideas about
reality.

in particular, he addresses the question of how to deal with all the
information that you'll miss when you're not jacked (what ?!). What
he calls mirror worlds, most people call virtual reality.

awesome stuff

--
David Arnold
==================================================================
CRC for Distributed Systems Technology arn...@dstc.edu.au
University of Queensland voice +617 3654367
Australia fax +617 3654399

Fred Stewart

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May 26, 1993, 1:06:00 AM5/26/93
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HG>
HG>The question I pose: Why?
HG>

Regarding the question of non-linear media, I think it's
important to realize that the non-linearities result from people.
In a mathematical context, a curve looks non-linear when viewed
with Cartesian coordinate system. The curve becomes linear when
a transformation of coordinate systems is made. In the same sense,
you are warping the media in an attempt to provoke a linear response
(the learned response of the audience) and then switching scales and
measuring any lasting effect as exponential.

You might consider a college library a very linear, ordered
environment, however, I have used them in very different ways.
One night I was in the library and bored with studies of Complex
Variables so I started to investigate the stacks. I happened
upon a book about the cultural anthropology of cities. I read
it and associated texts (math was boring so I stopped going to
class), dropped out of school and moved to Madrid, Spain. Well,
I spent a lot of time walking around Madrid. It's a very nice city.

Almost all of the Madrillenos eat fresh bread and one morning,
on one of my walks, I noticed that the bakeries deliver bread
in very large baskets with wooden skids. After all the
deliveries, these baskets are nested one inside the other for
storage, even though the skids have been on the filthy, grimy
streets. This provoked the thought that 1983 Spain health
consciousness was not as acute as mine and I let this be known
to the correct authorities.

The point is that if I was in the UMASS library today and I could
call up a head mount video of this morning's jog in Madrid, I
wouldn't have had to fly over there to realize that India's
Ganges is Spain's bread.


FAS
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