Virtureality: Boon or Bane?

Prologue 1

We, Homosapiens, have undergone a constant and steady evolutionary process over the course of the last millennia. We are still undergoing this evolutionary process in the digital era at/to/with an unprecedented rate/extent/dimension. The ways in which we are evolving in the digital era is different from our revolutionary journey throughout the history. We think, we reason, we analyse, we synthesise, we comprehend, we communicate, …and we decide differently compared to how we did say 10 years ago, let alone how our fathers or grandfathers did in their own times.  

Prologue 2

There are moments in life when you stop, take a step back and think. You see something, hear a quote, read a book, watch a movie (or a TV series†) and that makes you ponder, it moves you, changes your worldviews and even makes you a different person. This is quite a tangible incident where a substantial change happens. However, it is more difficult for such moments to take place in an environment in which we are constantly under the barrage from the media in its broadest sense. It is even more difficult to note such moments as and when they happen. But this happened to me a couple of years ago as I am sure it happens to all of us sometimes sooner or later and to different extents.

The Plot

It was a Sunday afternoon in October 2016; one of those Autumn days which are sunny but carry some sort of melancholy deep down there and I was killing time surfing the net when I came across this video*:

There and then the video was a raw-cut with no inset of EuroNews logo. It looked like a very realistic computer simulation. For a moment I found myself lost in the virtual world and I thought I was looking at a commercial for one of the mainstream computer war games. I was waiting for some action scenes and some titles to follow, but there was none. To my total disbelief, it was not virtual, not a game, or a computer simulation. It was actual, a very real scene taken in war-torn city of Aleppo using a UAV. And this is what made me think about what differentiates the virtual from the real or vice versa. I belong in Generation X and if I am lost between actuality and virtuality, imagine what goes on in the head of Generation Y, iGen and Gen Alpha! For the youngest of all generations there might not even be a clear distinction between the actual and the virtual.

The Curse of Simulators

Simulators have been a godsend, no doubt. They are safe, they help us recreate scenes and scenarios as near the real-life situations as possible, they are cheap, they save time, they save lives, in one word they are real “game”-changers. This is brilliant as you can train a commercial or a fighter jet pilot with no risks to the pilot’s life or the lives of those who may be affected by their performance, with relatively affordable cost and time involved. But “every curse has a blessing, and every blessing has a curse…‡”. And the curse of simulators is the blurred boundaries between the real and the virtual; what I would call the birth of “Virtureality”.


Virtureality in its own is a fascinating concept. Imagine how life would have changed if we could transmit ourselves – to another geographical location literally in no time – using our mobile phones. It would have been so cool. Then the question is what would happen to the mobile phone itself when the transmission of us was done and over with. Would the mobile phone transmit itself or will it stay where it has been? I know, probably similar concepts have been used for many years and frequently even in TV Series such as Doctor Who, but I cannot help but to recall this funny scene in Pink Panther Show◊.

This said, there is a dark side to Virtureality when the boundaries dissolve and disappear into thin air, when no longer are we able to differentiate the virtual from the real, when a gun is a gun – a gun in reality – and when it is not a real gun but a virtual model of a gun; the first one kills and so does the second one, the first for real but the second one in virtual, for whatever the cause, be it training agents or for fun in a video game… or was it vice vera, the first one virtual while the second one for real?! Are we all always in the right state of the mind to differentiate the two and know exactly what our actions, decisions or lack thereof, may entail most importantly in the real world? In the virtual world you may die or lose the score or lose the game, nothing which cannot be retrieved or fixed one way or another but what about the real world, are the consequences that easy to keep under control? Well, for me this is “beyond the reasonable doubt”. What about you?    

This was my kind of philosophical dilemma when it comes to the fascinating concept of Virtureality which I wanted to share with you. Feel free to reach out to us, we’d love to hear your opinions.

†I know I brag about it a lot but one more thing which made me think was Jonathan Nolan’s Person of Interest.

* For more videos like this see here.

‡ “Every curse has a blessing, and every blessing has a curse. When you stand face to face with your destiny, will you be able to tell one from the other?” Quote from J.K. Ensley

◊ For the full episode see here.

2 thoughts on “Virtureality: Boon or Bane?

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