WHEN THE VIRTUAL BECOMES REAL AND THE REAL VIRTUAL

WHEN THE VIRTUAL BECOMES REAL AND THE REAL VIRTUAL

In my teenage years, like many others, I was first introduced to the virtuality of the internet. This was around the time when the term “information age” was most used. The access and availability although is nothing compared to the access we have today, it was however most likely the first encounter many people of my generation had with advanced tech/digitisation.

The older we grew, the more advanced it became, but truth be told, many of us weren’t ready for the uncomfortable changes this heavily computerised/digitised world was bringing along. My generation is the only one between the analogue and the digital. Therefore, making it easier to assess the pros and cons of it all.

Everything was beginning to go digital – telephones, televisions, cameras, shopping, mails…. Beyond goods, commodities and material things, our lifestyles began to gradually change when internet dating happened. Could you really date someone you haven’t met in person? How could you date someone 5000 miles away for a lengthy period of time without actually knowing them? I remember quite vividly how condescending we talked about our friends who “claimed” to have girl/boyfriends they have never met.

I don’t even imagine my mom letting me go away to meet someone I’ve only known via the internet. She’d probably say, “don’t you have an array of suits you could choose from? What is wrong with all the ladies in school, church and the neighbourhood?”

Virtual Relationships

Fast forward to 2020, today we barely do anything outside our phones and computers. Today, internet dating isn’t far from being the norm, although many still hold their reservations against such. Facebook groups, chat rooms and other platforms are filled with virtual relationships, some of which have blossomed like golden tulips into real beautiful friendships, while some others remain as virtual as the screens and lights that project their hologram personalities.

VIRTUAL VS. REAL

What is real and what is not is no longer as distinguishable. What was considered virtual 20 years ago is now so much an integral part of our lives that it is unreasonable to call it “unreal”.

About a week long of deliberations and considerations on what camera to buy led me and my wife to checking out and researching the pros and cons to the cameras we came across. Things such as resolution, lenses….seem to vary across all cameras but apart from personal preferences which could be shaped by ergonomic properties, design, functionality or even manufacturer, they all appear to be doing a good job at enhancing the photos they take. They are like cameras on steroids. One thing is visible, it does seem like our cameras are becoming more virtual by the day.

We tend to look at the images produced by our devices and gadgets and try to compare them with others. Many times, we hear people say a photo isn’t as good as another, when in reality what they are saying is just a bye-product of their virtually/digitally configured minds. The picture that was photographed often looks nothing like the pics we are so infatuated with.

A Photoshopped Reality

Many years ago, there was a wildfire of criticisms raining down on people with excessively airbrushed photos, but here we are in 2020 and all of our photos are insanely photoshopped and no one seems to bat an eye anymore. Same goes for the T-Pain/autotune era. I’m sure we all remember how we swiftly came down on autotuned music and established that it isn’t real. We argued how horrible and ‘fake’ it is and how ‘untalented’ autotune musicians are. Here we are in 2020 and all our songs are autotuned, yet we don’t notice it anymore.

More baffling is that all of our favourites have a decent amount of autotune on their music and our ears just can’t perceive it anymore. This reminds me of a tweet from UK Grime godfather, Wiley in which he said if the autotune was completely removed from all the songs we hear today, our ears would probably perceive it as whack. 

REALITY IS PERCEPTION

The virtualisation of the human mind is real and significant progress has been made in this regard so far. Companies realise how malleable the human mind is and this realisation of theirs has created a huge money-making avenue for them. From our mobile phones to our laptops, hifi speakers, automobiles, internet search engines, wristwatches, everything around us is becoming more virtual and the results we get out of them are more or less perception-based and not completely factual.

As sad as the outbreak of the Coronavirus is, it happens to be another thing that buttresses our virtual reality. For many years, corporations have assertively claimed that work CANNOT be done remotely and there is no compromise on that. My question to them now would be, “how e dey go now, ehn?” Don’t ask me what that means.

Even our everyday lives are virtual now. People are now able to create a virtual lifestyle. And thanks to Instagram’s self-absorbed, conceited and vain nature, you can say you are whatever you want to be and be wherever you say you are with just a virtual location tag without any concrete proof. 

Nothing is “real” anymore. Not our communication, not our language, not our music, not our work nor our supposed knowledge. And inasmuch as corporations would like to justify the traditional models of working, it is now proven that work can be done remotely and with proper coordination and structuring, it can be as productive as working in an institutional facility.

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