On Channel 4 News, an interview with Philip Rosedale, founder and CEO of vast virtual metaverse ‘Second Life’. He appears to have fair to greyish hair with a spikey fringe. The camera angle was quite low and the lighting was such that Rosedale bore an uncanny resemblance to his own avatar in the virtual world that he created. (The photo above does not, alas, suggest this with convincing force.)
In my essay ‘Self Expression’, to be found elsewhere in Strength Weekly, I refer to a Japanese roboticist who, when speaking to his extremely lifelike animatronic replica, discovered that he was adapting his own lip movements by speaking more slowly, in order that the android’s lips could be synced with his own more readily.
The Rosedale Resemblance, as I shall call it, takes this example of technoDarwinian adaptation rather further.
A number of possibilities arises, each of which must terrify:
If you make something you become like it.
If you make something based on the simulation of life then the gap between you and the simulation decreases.
The man on the television was not Philip Rosedale but his avatar (graphic representation of a Second Life user).
The television interviewer was also an avatar (did news presenter Jon Snow know this?).
The avatars want you to become like them (they find us sexually fascinating).
We find our replicas sexually fascinating and pick up tips and hints from them (at the moment you can’t fuck them but it’s just a matter of time).
Television is being slowly taken over by avatars (it has to be slow so that it is not noticed).
In the interim phase, in order to acclimatise viewers to the coming Shift, presenters, interviewers and personalities will be chosen for their low affect and narrow facial-expressive range (this is what Botox is really for).
Newspaper campaigns have been orchestrated to emphasise the advantages of a life in which i) you get what you want because you deserve it (the word ‘pamper’ is often the giveaway here) ii) you have complete control over how you are seen and what is known about you (the word ‘re-invent’ is often used to indicate the scale of the freedoms available).
When the Shift is finally effected those not residing within the metaverse will feel lonely, self-conscious and prone to feelings of unreality that border on the schizoid.
It may be, and this is highly speculative, that attempts will be made, from within the metaverse, at some time in the future, to retake the First Life arena (see Debray, Regis: Revolution within the Revolution?). It is more likely, however, that strong feelings of disgust will inhibit all but the least socialised on Earth II.