Possible Worlds: The Social Dynamic of Virtual Reality Technology

Overview

Once a tool of the 1960s military through which virtual wars were staged and studied so that actual wars could be perfected, in the 1990s virtual reality (VR) has become a revolutionary technology allowing users to experience nearly unlimited computer-generated realities—exercising a strong hold on the popular imagination, attracting hundreds of researchers, and spawning a booming industry. This book explores the complex significance of this technology to popular culture. It provides a sociological and historical...

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Overview

Once a tool of the 1960s military through which virtual wars were staged and studied so that actual wars could be perfected, in the 1990s virtual reality (VR) has become a revolutionary technology allowing users to experience nearly unlimited computer-generated realities—exercising a strong hold on the popular imagination, attracting hundreds of researchers, and spawning a booming industry. This book explores the complex significance of this technology to popular culture. It provides a sociological and historical account of the genesis of VR and how VR has shaped social life, and then relates VR to more general issues in the study and effects of the new communications media. Explained is VR’s relationship to advanced research and development, to the education and entertainment industries, and finally to the culture of cyberpunk, youth culture, and cultural expression. Taken as a whole, Possible Worlds provides a complete understanding of this complex and exciting technology.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A study exploring the social implications of virtual reality (VR) technology, tracing the history of VR and relating it to general issues in the study of the effects of new information and communication technologies. Details VR's relationship to research and development, education and entertainment, and cyberpunk and youth culture, challenging conventional ideas in the sociology of science. For students and scholars in sociology and computers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813329550
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 6/13/1996
  • Pages: 204
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
1 Virtual Worlds and Sociological Knowledge 1
2 From the Ultimate Display to Reality Built for Two and Beyond 17
3 From the Laboratory to Consumer Electronics 45
4 Virtual Worlds and Everyday Realities: Education and Games 69
5 Virtual Worlds and the Varieties of Interactive Experience 99
6 The Spirit in the Machine 123
7 Virtual Worlds and the Social Realities of Technology 137
Notes 161
References 177
About the Book and Author 191
Index 193
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