Re: poly: Why so much anonymous virtual reality?

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Fri Feb 20 1998 - 15:17:01 PST

Hal writes:
>Frankly, I don't do much of the kinds of correlation Robin lists
>above, and yet I enjoy my life very much. ...
>Granted, I'm more introverted and less social than the average person,
>and at other times in my life I did have a wider network of interactions
>than I do now. But still, I find emotional stimulation and support at
>home, intellectual challenges at work and on the net. It may well be
>that in the future, more people will be able to structure their lives in
>this way.

"More" maybe, but I find it very hard to believe that over one quarter
of the population would consider this to be only a minor cost.

>These kinds of involuntary linkages are more difficult to avoid. If you
>really have a VR for interaction that uses video and speech, then there
>will have to be masking programs which alter these enough so that you
>are not recognizable. It's not clear that such technology will be

Such technology would be hard because there are so many ways for
our personal styles to shine through, and our interactions use them in so
many ways. It's like acting a character in a play. Even when you have
a costume and makeup, it's really a lot of work to stay in character.
You have to be aware of how other people percieve you,
and react to them based on that. Managing different characters for
a dozen different regular contexts seems a great cognitive expense.

>You suggest that people who want to defeat your privacy will know when
>you go into your comm room. Is that really reasonable? Granted that
>the technology will exist to allow this, this level of monitoring may
>not be legal.

But then we're back to having our privacy depend on laws which prohibit
privacy invasions. Not only might such laws exempt various powers, but
they might be hard to enforce, or enforcement might be lax.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Fri Feb 20 23:26:00 1998

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