What and Where is Place in the Digital World? – Part 3 – Digital Nation

Michael Plugged InIs it possible – or in fact, is it likely – that virtual experiences of place may be as real to Michael and others of his generation as are their physical experiences of place?

On February 2, 2010, PBS Frontline aired a program called “Digital Nation.”

To view it online, go to:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/

There is a lot in it about the teens and how they interact with technology and with each other.  Some of our peers in the “older” generation feel they are “not as smart” and others think they “need to slow down, stop multi-tasking, and have a complete thought.”  The teens say, “That will never happen!”  I mentioned it to Michael.  He said the same thing.

So…perhaps the researchers (of our generation) need to rethink and potentially redefine “smart” and “complete thought” to meet what is occurring in the brains of the younger generations.  I understand that some neuroscientists are studying how the wiring of the brain is changing….

In terms of experience and perception of place are some people melding with the technology?

With regard to place in specific, two segments in the Frontline program stood out for me.

First, there was an abbreviated version of the 60 minutes presentation on military “pilots” living physically in Nevada who “fly” drones over Iraq.  (These days, if they are skilled enough as video game players, they don’t even need to go to flight school!)  So…the pilot’s body is sitting in Nevada while his/her consciousness is somewhere ½ way around the world in Iraq – with the capability to kill people in Iraq while sitting in Nevada.  In terms of place, where EXACTLY is that pilot when he’s flying the drone?

Secondly, they interviewed IBM’s CTO for sales and distribution.  She and her global team meet “in” Second Life.  They are living all over the world.  They have a “meeting room” where they do all of their common work and they each have chosen and dressed an avatar body. (Interesting change in the meaning of the word “avatar” in the last couple of years…)  In most cases, they have not met in person (and may never meet).  Yet, the CTO says they know each other well through their avatar bodies.  What shall we call this virtual experience and perception in terms of PLACE – as we have known it until now?

Part 1 – Indigenous / Industrial / Digital Native

Part 2 – From Indigenous to Digital


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