By Pierre Levy
Examining the social and cultural effect of latest electronic applied sciences, Levy tackles the concept that of "the virtual," demonstrating the way it has consistently been a permanent portion of the human brain. He indicates how the physique, the textual content, and the economic system, are made digital. He then unearths how the web and websites at the moment are remodeling the digital right into a "collective intelligence" associated with electronic communication.Succinct, obtainable, and profound, changing into Virtual is an highbrow journey de strength from one in all France's such a lot exceptional younger thinkers.
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Extra info for Becoming Virtual. Reality in the Digital Age
The reader of a book or article on paper is confronted with a physical object in which a specific version of the text is incorporated. This reader can write annotations in the margins of the text, make photocopies, cut and paste it, create a montage, but the initial text is always present, black on white, already fully realized. When reading on screen, this extensive presence that pre cedes the act of reading has disappeared. Digital media (diskette, hard drive, optical disc) does not contain a text that can be read by a human being but a series of digital codes that will be translated by a computer into alphabetic signs intended for a display.
We create virtual organisms that en 43 The Virtualization o f the Body 44 Becoming Virtual rich our sensible universe but do not cause us pain. Does this imply disembodiment? Using the body as an example, we can show that virtualization can't be re duced to a process of disappearance or dematerializa tion. At the risk of repeating myself, I want to again emphasize that virtualization involves a change of iden tity, a transition from a particular solution to a general problematic, the transformation of a specific and cir cumscribed activity into a delocalized, desynchronized, and collectivized functioning.
The existence of grafts, for example, has resulted in the circulation of organs among human bodies, from one individual to another, between the dead and the living, even between one species and an other. We have transplanted baboon hearts and pig liv ers into human beings, injected them with hormones produced by bacteria. Implants and prostheses blur the boundary between mineral and animal: glasses, con tact lenses, false teeth, silicon implants, pacemakers, hearing aids, auditory implants, external filters in place of healthy kidneys.