Cyberspatial “rapture.” This phrase would have struck me as comically
oxymoronic, even perplexing, a few years ago, but I’ve seen too many people
who exhibit the signs and symptoms of being in rapturous love with their
cyber-gadgets. Several years ago, Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility sponsored a public discussion at Harvard, a panel
discussion, on virtual reality. One of the panelists, Dr. William Bricken,
a virtual reality guru and then director of the Human Interface Technology
Laboratory at the University of Washington, was interrupted in the middle
of his talk by an unexpected grip of crying, which caught the audience by
surprise. People in the audience were momentarily concerned, watching a
noted professor crying at the podium, then embarrassed, because it quickly
became apparent that Dr. Bricken was weeping with joy over his own
description of the technology he worked with. He was overcome with emotion
over recalling his experience with his machinery. To some, I suppose, this
was touching. To others, it was alarmingly Orwellian.


Return to the Magna Carta