Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution

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9780061809507: Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution

“Enough with speculation about our digital future. Infinite Reality is the straight dope on what is and isn’t happening to us right now, from two of the only scientists working on the boundaries between real life and its virtual extensions.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed

How achievable are the virtual experiences seen in The Matrix, Tron, and James Cameron’s Avatar? Do our brains know where “reality” ends and “virtual” begins? In Infinite Reality, Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson, two pioneering experts in the field of virtual reality, reveal how the human brain behaves in virtual environments and examine where radical new developments in digital technology will lead us in five, fifty, and five hundred years.

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From the Back Cover:

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 worlds—take 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 forms—including immersive video games and social-networking sites—will 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.

About the Author:

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.



Jeremy Bailenson is the founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Professor Bailenson has been featured on Frontline, All Things Considered, and Today, and in Time, Discover, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Science, Health, World, and Style sections of the New York Times, as well as in the New York Times Magazine.

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