This morning my 6-year old looked at my wife and I and asked, “Are boats real? The really big boats?”
“Like cruise ships?” my wife said.
“Like pirate boats.”
We responded that yes, they are real, but it made me feel bad for the poor kid. I don’t know that it’s any deficiency on her part that she can’t tell that big boats are real or not. Rather, I think we’ve reached the point that some types of media (i.e. CGI) have become so life-like that someone who doesn’t know better won’t be able to tell truth from fiction.
That’s pretty cool. And a little scary.
Of course, she’s 6. She’s still learning how to read (which is a difficult taks. After all, in English there are so many exceptions to most rules that you almost might as well not have rules, sometimes), and so is still pretty early in life, and so she’s learning about life on a much more basic level than most older people. But the fact that our technology has made it possible to create fake things that look real is scary because as that advances, it will be harder to tell where that line is drawn. Even for mature people.
This could likely evolve into a question about what is real and what isn’t, but I’m not that interested in such an existential topic. I just think that once our technology reaches the point that our brains can’t tell the difference between real and fake, things will be interesting. That will be the new drug of choice. People will want to escape to virtual reality where life is good, where the rules make sense and can be gamed. Where they can do whatever they want, and there aren’t any lasting effects.
Oh, wait, video games are well on their way to this, aren’t they?
Anyway, in my head, the net effect can only possibly be negative, because the fact of the matter remains that we live in a physical world, and that world hase to be taken care of. As people lose their grip on reality, they became more likely to care less about real people, and therefore hurt others in the real world.
I’m sure there’s plenty of fiction out there that explores this. Anyone know of something really good?