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Supercomputing Graphics Software Entertainment Games

Matrix-Like VR Coming in the Near Future? 249

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-see-anything-bad-happening-there. dept.
Anonymongoose writes "A researcher at Brookhaven National Lab reckons it could be just a few years before computers can pass through the uncanny valley. The article refers to this as a 'Graphics Turing Test': 'a computer can be considered intelligent if it can create an artificial world capable of fooling a person into believing it is the real thing.' Michael McGuigan has been performing some interesting experiments using Brookhaven's Blue Gene/L supercomputer and has shown that it can produce realistic lighting effects in real time. McGuigan's original research paper (pdf) is available online."
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Matrix-Like VR Coming in the Near Future?

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  • VR.5 (Score:3, Funny)

    by GenP (686381) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:17PM (#22957412)
    But how are we going to fit a full VR.8 onto an 8" floppy?
  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:18PM (#22957430)
    Future Tech Prediction Checklist:

    "Researchers" did or said something: x
    "A few years" before the tech is out: x
    Promises to change the way we think of computers: x
    Shitty PDF "research paper" that was probably written by a half drunk college kid: x

  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:19PM (#22957448) Homepage Journal

    I had a couple of hundred television channels, and canceled my satellite service because there was never anything worth watching on.

    Having a realistic world doesn't impress me. I'm holding off to see what they do with it before getting excited.

    • by Gat0r30y (957941)
      Porn...

      I'm holding off to see what they do with it before getting excited.

      you will be excited.
      With this in the "near" future (whatever the hell that means) we gotta be getting closer to a holodeck type deal, which reminds me:
      Kif: The Holosheds broke again and all the characters became real! Cpt. Branigan: Last time this happened i got slapped with 4 paternity suits.
      Bender: Oh No, Evil Lincoln, were doomed!

      Well, if anyone needs me I'll be in the holoshed

    • by Simon Simian (694897) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:36PM (#22957638)

      Maybe in the new virtual worlds there'll be something good on TV.

      I think I'd be impressed by a realistic virtual world. This one isn't convincing. There's a dead pixel in Iowa.

      • Maybe in the new virtual worlds there'll be something good on TV.

        The more you exclude because it isn't using gee-whiz special effects, the less likely you are to find anything good. Only rich assholes who don't respect you can afford gee-whiz special effects, and they'd rather your entertainments be trite and superficial.
      • by PlatyPaul (690601)
        Aha! It's you [xkcd.com]!
    • Well, aside from wasting time on YouTube...

      Try something like WoW. It may not be exactly good, but it's certainly addictive.

      Or try something like Second Life.

      Of course, making it photorealistic is not "Matrix-Like VR", that requires a better interface. Nor should photorealism be regarded as a sign of any kind of "intelligence", and comparing it to a Turing test is absurd.
      • why absurd? It's the exact same principle of artificial being indistinguishable from natural. Just because one concerns intelligence doesn't mean the other one does.
  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:21PM (#22957458) Homepage
    ...I prefer 2D games.
  • by glyph42 (315631) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:22PM (#22957478) Homepage Journal
    If you can't build a large hadron supercollider in the game and get new insights into particle physics, in real time, then it fails the test. This is NOT near future.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Traxxas (20074)
      How can you gain new insights when you can't tell what is going to happen in the real world. You have to completely understand the model before simulating it.
    • by corgan517 (1040154) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @06:51PM (#22958318)
      I wonder though... particle physics aside, if you were born into the model a la The Matrix, would it matter if it was photorealistic? I have 20/20 vision, but I've heard that people with bad eyes don't really realize how much detail they're missing till they get glasses. If the Matrix had the graphic levels of DOOM or Quake 1, but you never saw what real life looked like, would you buy it?
      • by emjay88 (1178161) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:22PM (#22958616)
        I'd mod you up if I had the points.

        Perspective is a very powerful thing. If you know nothing else, it's near impossible to even wonder about how it could be better.
        For example, remember when the N64 was new and GoldenEye was the best game ever? I back to GoldenEye every now and then and I wonder how I could ever understand the writing or make out the other players from the background. I've just gotten used to "better" graphics.

        Can you imagine a colour that we haven't discovered?

        That said, I wouldn't volunteer my children or myself.
        • A color we haven't discovered?

          There was a student in my dorm who was blind from birth. He responded to a question about how he felt about what he was 'missing'. He said he didn't miss it at all, since he never had a concept of 'sight'.

          For an interesting brainteaser (or philosophical question)

          "How do you explain color to a blind man?"
      • So how many petaflops will be needed before tasty wheat tastes like anything other than chicken?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Frozen Void (831218)
        I played few MMORPG with horrible pixelizations and i think eye adapts to anything that resembles 3-d.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grumbel (592662)
      The joy of a virtual world is that it can take shortcuts, so it doesn't have to simulate every particle in the gaming world, it just has to create the results you see on your virtual computer screen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:23PM (#22957486)
    Gimme an 'O', gimme an 'R', and gimme an 'N'!

    It won't have to fool me into believing it's the real thing; I WANT to believe. I'm quite willing to ignore some gaping holes in any VR representation (but not others, nudge & wink).

    (In fact my "Top Ten" List would contain more than a couple of anime characters)
    • yeah, good luck with that tactile feedback thing.

      Turns out visuals != experience, and that's probably a really good thing..
      • Right, and aside from tactile feedback, the visuals are just about there. Or, if you're into Anime, they're aready here.

        That, and the tactile feedback still wouldn't be the real thing. It's supposed to be about human contact.
  • This is assinine. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanamiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:25PM (#22957500) Journal
    Sure, using a Blue Gene/L you can run a radiosity simulation on top of raytracing in approximately real time. Big freaking whoop!

    But will we have the model and shading tools, not to mention the physics engines and such to simulate a realistic environment in 5 years? 10? 20? Curiously the article fails to investigate this.

    Instead they have a nicely shaded clump of colored balls. Maybe they'll do a teapot next!!!
    • Re:This is assinine. (Score:5, Informative)

      by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:33PM (#22957584) Homepage Journal

      Maybe they'll do a teapot next!!!
      You obviously haven't visited the tachyon home page [uiuc.edu]. (Tachyon was the renderer used.)
  • ....you believe everything you read. You take the blue pill, you're skeptical of such far fetched allegations (and you get a hardon that lasts and lasts).
    • Well, the "blue pill" was "believe whatever you want to believe", which sounds a bit like people who believe this.

      Or you say no to drugs...
  • I have a lot of karma to burn* so why the fuck not...

    The poster sounds like a pup to use the phrase "Matrix-Like". Back when the Wachowski brothers were in high school, Gibson had already formulated the term "cyberspace" in Burning Chrome, which was a "Matrix-Like" VR before there was even a Matrix. Give credit where credit is due!

    * I find people who post something along the lines of "I have a lot of karma to burn" before posting a rant end up getting modded plus points. Let's see what happens!
    • by QMalcolm (1094433) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:59PM (#22957818)
      Cyberspace is a dead idea anyways. Aside from "the goggles problem" (no one likes to wear geeky equipment), we're already in the /real/ cyberspace. William Gibson has suggested things along these lines.

      The barrier between physical and digital is getting smaller all the time. If you go to a party, you can take a picture with your phone and it'll be on facebook in seconds. Cyberspace isn't going to be an "other" place, it's being grafted onto reality.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)
      Crefit where credit is due indeed - although 'cyberspace' was coined as a term in one of gibson's books (I thought it was Neuromancer, but I may well be wrong there), they were all strongly influenced by John Shirley's short story "Wolves of the Plateau" (you can buy it in the anthology Heatseeker).

    • by vimh42 (981236)
      The Matrix reference was definitely lame. I would have preferred some sort of reference to the holodeck from Start Trek: The Next Generation.
    • Yeah, that bothered me too, but "cyberspace" bothers me just as much.

      Call it what it is: photorealistic graphics. And just graphics -- no tactile feedback, no direct neural interface, and no convincing AIs -- barely passable physics -- and it says nothing of the actual structure behind it.

      That, and Gibson's cyberspace, at least in Neuromancer, wasn't even trying to be photorealistic. It was more like an acid trip, or like Tron without the humanoids -- it would have either had basic geometry, or it'd be usin
      • by Omestes (471991)
        I'd say Descartes has prior art on the idea. More recently (and ignoring Gibson) Philip K. Dick.

        As a philosophy buff the first Matrix had me, then they killed it with the latter two and their cave-raves and messianic imagery.

        I got sick of Matrix analogies about the time my old college started forcing 101 kids to watch the Matrix on top of the section on Descartes, and I walked into a book store and saw "The Philosophy of the Matrix" book. Yes, it raises valid (and arguably historic) philosophical issue, b
    • They tend to get modded up, unless you mention you're going to get modded up... then I'd guess your odds decrease and actually swing to getting modded down.

      BUT, you've got a "fuck the establishment" type post, which is always good for karma whoring (and can anyone honestly say they haven't done it?), so you'll probably stay at a 5.
  • by jfroot (455025) <darmok@tanagra.ca> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:38PM (#22957650) Homepage
    This is something that has always made me wonder. When computer graphics reach the point where you cannot readily tell if the image you are seeing is real or synthetic, how will this affect video game violence?

    Can you imaging Grant Theft Auto X with full realistic imaging? How would that affect someone when they go beat a whore to death with a baseball bat and the mind cannot as easily dismiss the disturbing imagery as virtual.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kshade (914666)
      Probably won't happen. Just because you can make beating up a whore with a baseball bat 100% realistic doesn't mean you have to.
      • But if it sells, why not?

        Personally, I'm not waiting for that kind of realism, but on the other hand, I sometimes question the way violence in games is censored. In GTA: San Andres you can shop/shoot off someones head, yet the head disappears and the blood is doesn't look realistic at all (as with most of the violence in GTA). IMHO that can backfire as well, as it can make people indifferent and careless to violence. Compare that to real violence which has an strong emotional to even physical sickening ef

      • by LS (57954)
        If it's possible, it will happen. Video games are like film - they are a medium for artist expression. While most films don't display extreme graphic violence, there are the occasional ones that do.

        LS
    • by geekoid (135745)
      I think you need to ask a broader question.

      Will a realistic world make it difficult to know the difference between real and fake? a kind of cyber-psychosis, if you will.

      Violence would just be one part in it.
      OTOH, I think people will enjoy games that may look real but clearly aren't. Either the period will be dated. i.e. recreating old event, or creating event's with technology we don't have.

      Complelte realism won't really be popular on the mainstream. DO you really want to deal with the sound, smoke and kick
      • by Molochi (555357)
        "Complelte realism won't really be popular on the mainstream. DO you really want to deal with the sound, smoke and kick of a real gun for more then 5 minutes? I mean your quake game would suck."

        Most modern military small arms are quite tame (for the person firing them). While i would think it prudent to limit game noise to level that were of minimal damage to the human eardrum, I fear that most gamers choose already to crank the volume to "uncomfortable levels". Realistic smoke would be less than what would
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          Weapon recoil on most military assault rifles is pretty light.

          Indeed, our first introduction to the M-16 in the Army was our drill sergeant demonstrating its lack of significant recoil by firing it with the butt against his forehead, his chin, and finally his crotch!

          Meanwhile, forcing the idiot who insists on taking a Barret Light 50 every round, to deal with its mass and recoil (and trigger flinch) would be amusement enough to allow it to ignore any armor you could wear and tear off body parts for artistic effect.

          That'd be hilarious. I'd be satisfied seeing realistic recoil to the degree one finds with the M-249 [militarypictures.info].

      • by DougWebb (178910)

        Complelte realism won't really be popular on the mainstream.

        I would love to play a game where my character sits in front of a virtual computer and types for 12 hours a day.

    • by grahamd0 (1129971)

      I think morality issues will probably depend more on AI than on graphics.

      I was about to suggest that it will change game design, probably making games more dramatic and thought-provoking, like the interactive-novel style of games that Star Trek crew members played in the holodeck, but I got to thinking that would really require passably intelligent and emotional AI characters.

      No matter how realistic a GTA X whore looks, you're not going to feel a lot of empathy for her if she just follows a path down the

      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        No matter how realistic a GTA X whore looks, you're not going to feel a lot of empathy for her if she just follows a path down the block, day and night, repeating a handful of phrases and behaviors when you interact with her.

        I reckon it'd feel about as real as beating up a robot or a mannequin.

        "hey sailor....$20" (walk walk walk) "hey sailor"

        Even with a list of 50, 100, even 500 canned phrases, it won't be long before you see repeats and your mind will instantly categorize it as "robot". It's gonna take more than realistic VR to get there. We're gonna need to pass the Turing test.

    • This is an extremely good question. I work for a major gaming publisher as a level builder, and I ask this question a lot. I mean if people are getting upset at the GTA hot coffee mod, then just wait 10-15 years from now. After playing Crysis on a high end machine with everything turned all the way up, we are damn close in being photorealistic. For those who haven't yet played Condemned 2, pick it up. Now imagine that game 10 years from now. It is going to be epic.

      Environmental building and lighting are
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      how will this affect video game violence?

      It will make it look like interactive action movie violence, which will be obviously more spectacular and vibrant than it is now (just wait for GTA IV, from the reviews so far it seems it's a leap forward in that very direction). But on the other hand, is it such a big deal? What shocks you the most, a guy stopping a bullet with his bare forehead in Heat or your average episode of Happy Tree Friends?

    • Yes, games are interactive, and there's that...

      But the photorealism has been there in movies and TV for some time now.

      If it's going to affect people, the damage is already (being) done.

      Oh, and keep in mind... you don't have to beat the whores to death with baseball bats. That's the interesting thing about GTA. It's a tradition that goes back to Ultima -- let the players do whatever they want, even if some of these things might be downright horrible. It's a test of their morality (or lack thereof), and they
  • by What is a number (652374) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:50PM (#22957750)
    When I played DOOM, I found myself trying to look around the corner of the inside of the computer screen.

    It was immersive enough to fool me...

    ---
    I type this every time.
  • by objekt (232270) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:53PM (#22957764) Homepage
    Oh yeah, it was back in the early 90s [google.com]. Yup, way back then. [google.com]
  • about the matrix. I want to learn how to master kung-fu in a day, and fly a helicopter in a few seconds.
    That's real power. Imagine if everybody could know every thing. that means everyone would push new boundaries and the wheel wouldn't ahve to keep getting invented.

    The second kick ass thing was the ships.
  • by taustin (171655) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:58PM (#22957806) Homepage Journal
    A researcher at Brookhaven National Lab reckons it could be just a few years before computers can pass through the uncanny valley.

    We can use it for the heads-up display for our flying cars (just a few years away) powered by practical fusion (just a few years away) while travling to the clinic for our immortality tratements (just a few years away).

    Thank god all the best things humanity will ever invent are going to be practical at the same time (just a few years away).
  • by Sark666 (756464) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:58PM (#22957816)
    I remember when I first heard of VR around 1989-90. I'm talking about the big headset with two screens one for each eye drawing a slightly different angle, with it also having head tracking and then draw the screens appropriately.

    I thought, what an amazing idea! This seemed like the closest thing you could have to a holodeck (kind of like a holodeck in reverse). Anyway, some games came out in the arcades. One company in particular was virtuality. They had this game called Dactyl Nightmare that I tried a couple of times. It was like a fps where you and a friend were pitted in an arena against each other with a gun. There was also this pterodactyl flying around that would randomly try and grab one of you. Anyway, neat simple idea to showcase VR. Problem was, it was certainly not ready for prime time.

    The screens were extremely low res. I mean it seemed lower than 320x240 per screen. But what really ruined the immersion factor was the frame rate. It felt like it was in the teens at best. Most of the time it felt like a slideshow.
    Anyway, they had a couple other games at the time, and they were pretty much the same experience.

    I still think it's a great idea, just way ahead of it's time. The problem was they were trying to do 3d (on two screens no less) in a 2d world. At that time, I think virtua racing/fighter just hit the scene. Almost all games were 2d still, and most certainly with the consoles/home computers.

    I checked their wiki entry just now and there was a sequel to dactyl nightmare which came out about 3 years later that ran on a 486, so I could just imagine what the first ran on.

    Anyway, the idea seemed to flop, but I always thought it was an idea ahead of it's time. Certainly we could do two screens at say 640 480 at 60 fps. It's been 16-17 years since I tried this and thought by now the idea would resurface.
    • by Sark666 (756464)
      just to add, some company now owns virtuality and still sells their equipment (for a pretty penny). They have some videos showcasing the games. Certainly we can do better than this?

      http://www.arcadianvr.com/images/Video/Video_Page.htm [arcadianvr.com]
    • by trawg (308495)
      Not 100% what you're after, but I got to check out Vuzix video eyeware [vuzix.com] at GDC this year. I think they say their gaming glasses are the equivalent of a 50" screen at 9 feet or something (I don't recall the numbers very well because I'm on the metric system and my brain turns out when people use those ye olde terms).

      I tried the glasses in two games - Call of Duty 4 and Flight Simulator X. Both have pretty impressive magic 3d technology where everything gets a nice 3d style.

      The glasses for FSX also supported h
    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      We have the computer power for pretty good VR right now. Imagine walking around Bioshock with a stereoscopic human FOV headset. It would look pretty amazing. The problem is we don't have the visual hardware. We should do by now, but we don't. I find this really annoying since I've been waiting for it since the early 90s. We need HMDs that are affordable and give a full human Field of View (or as close as possible). At the moment the available HMDs cost thousands and only give you tunnel vision.

      The games
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @05:59PM (#22957826) Journal
    Sure. when I am CONVINCED some girl is sucking me off, I am supposed to beleive it? And pray tell, how will I know that it's "me" getting "sucked off"? And what about Goedel?

    The whole Matrix simulacrum spiel is such a load of shite I find it utterly bizarre that people are still entertaining it.

    I'm *sure* that the computer will fool some people into thinking what it makes is real, because THOSE PEOPLE ARE STUPID. It's not that the machines will become intelligent, it's that we're bending the curve on what we think is intelligence to something really stupid - we'll just lower the bar, or collectively enter our idiocracy and think "Hey - fooled me!"

    "Gee Johnny, why don't you stop drooling on yourself for a minute and tell me: is the machine intelligent?"

    "Id da macheen telligent? Duhh YEAH Boss! Id be willy telligent! Can I have cookie now?"

    RS

    • Then, what say you about the allegory of the cave put forth by Plato? The Matrix is just a movie describing what was put forth 2500 years ago, but with a sci-fi bent.

      Can we expect those who grew up with the darkness to ever be accustomed to light of truth?
  • Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glwtta (532858) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @06:10PM (#22957938) Homepage
    Realistic lighting effects ... immersive virtual reality.

    Does anyone else feel like maybe there's a step or two missing there?
  • blah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @06:19PM (#22958052) Homepage Journal
    I'd rather have Tron-like VR. Screw your stylish coats and sunglasses, I want a lightcycle and gridbugs.
  • If we just need a few years of development to get truly photo-realistic images in real time, then why can't why make those realistic images right now in less than real-time? I mean, sure Hollywood visual effects are great, but they are never perfect. And, that's with a zillion artists working day and night to make frames that often take many hours to render when all is said and done. And, when it comes to people, they aren't even great. Crossing the uncanny valley isn't about FLOPS. It's about creating the content to throw those FLOPS at. It's going to take a long, long time before you have the algorithms in place that can simulate, animate, and render a realistic person. Not that it won't happen. It probably will. I just think we may wind up with hardwrae to run those algorithms before we wind up with those algorithms. So, just pointing at hardware advances and shouting is probably a bit misleading.
    • by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @09:14PM (#22959374)

      It's going to take a long, long time before you have the algorithms in place that can simulate, animate, and render a realistic person.
      Animate? Yes... that is still a ways off, though even The Matrix had some pretty convincing versions of Neo.

      But as for still frames and modelling, we're getting there:

      Sexy Girl - http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=121&t=532817 [cgsociety.org]
      Tattoo Guy - http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=121&t=550192 [cgsociety.org]
      The Artist - http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=121&t=472843 [cgsociety.org]

      As for realtime photorealistic animation though, we're a long, long way from there. Lighting is one hurdle, the bigger hurdle is content. Models, textures, rigs... forget rendering, all of this takes a lot of time to BUILD for a photoreal environment.

      Its one thing to come up with a realistic model and scene for a photo-realistic still frame. Its another, to rig all of those models so that they can interact with each other in a pre-determined way. Its something altogether entirely different to do this in real time without predetermined paths and choreographed actions, and modelling all viewable elements based upon the degree of movement that a user has within the space.

      This is very much highlighted in the differences between high-poly count models (for detailed stills) and low-poly models (used for 3D games). The "art" for immersive environments like simulated 3D gaming (fps, racing sims etc) is to come up with a convincing representation of a real world object with the lowest poly count possible.

      Currently the difference between these polycounts is massive.
  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @06:21PM (#22958076)
    And it will be ready just in time for Duke Nukem Forever.

    Bemopolis
  • a computer can be considered intelligent if it can create an artificial world capable of fooling a person into believing it is the real thing.

    If the only aspect of the simulation you consider is "graphics", then I'm pretty sure just about anything capable of video playback qualifies as "intelligent" by this definition.

    If the requirement is that the interaction with other "humans" in the simulation be realistic, then you've got two components: simulation of human behavior/interaction/conversation, and graphi

    • by LingNoi (1066278)
      I disagree, although communication with other people in a 3d environment would be a must if the technology was ever going to go anywhere, I think anyone would be convinced by a room full of interact-able static objects.
  • Will everything taste like chicken there?
  • The graphics in today's games are already pretty damn good. Yet, even with the great graphics we have today, there is no immersive VR available. After 20 years of waiting I still can't go into a shop and buy a VR headset that covers my entire field of view with decent resolution. The best you can buy is something with the field of view of a postage stamp stuck to your glasses.

    At the moment all of these great games are still stuck behind a little screen. By now we should really be inside the games. When I
    • Field of view is not the problem. It is that it doesn't recognize where your head is. If the screen reacted to you moving your head around it would be better. If you had full field of view goggles that didn't react to the position of your head it would feel crappy and awkward. And if it didn't react perfectly to what reality would do it will make you sick as a dog. For some reason this is reminding me about irreducible complexity... Anyways i'm going to take a guess that position sensing earbuds/headphones
  • The big virtual penis avatars of Snow Crash.

  • Simulating physical rwality (without intelligent beings in it) does not require intelligence. It does require extreme attentioan to detail, is computationally very demanding, but has no connection whatsoever to the turing test.
  • Matrix-like (Score:3, Funny)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @08:16PM (#22958948)
    So the it will be as realistic as a 2d i*j array? I don't get it.
  • Alternative theory: This has happened already and you are experiencing it now...
  • by ignavus (213578) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @10:29PM (#22959846)
    The really funny thing is watching all you people talk about this as if it is the future.

    You have no way of knowing whether you are in a convincing artificial reality right now.

    In fact, Hegel - back in the 1830s - already taught that all "reality" is virtual. It is *essentially* appearance. It is all a show, folks. It is meaningless to discuss "real reality versus artifical reality", because there is no absolute distinction between them. They are just "more real" and "less real" in relation to each other.

    We philosophers knew all about the problems of virutal reality and knowledge of the world back in the 1600s and 1700s and 1800s - long before computers were invented.

    Computers just help the people with no imagination to get the problem a few centuries late.

    There. Was that trollish enough?
  • 1)Find a bathtub or similar container
    2)Place a number of random objects into the container
    3)Fill container with soapy water to half-cower the objects in question
    4)start stirring the water.

    Even if you manage to render that realistically your supercomputer is going to completely choke trying to work out 3D fluid dynamics with surface tension in real time. For extra fun you can throw in some hydrocarbons with a melting point in the vicinity of room temperature, thus forcing the simulation to take into consider
  • War of the Worlds? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by martyb (196687) on Friday April 04, 2008 @06:41AM (#22961488)

    I'm not so concerned about the technical issues as I am of the social issues.

    I'm reminded of the problems that arose when "The War of the Worlds" was broadcast on the radio and some people thought it was real. That was audio. Then, IIRC, there was a scene in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" where the moon colony made up a video of a leader announcing something, but it wasn't real (sorry about the lack of details - I read it a LONG time ago - I'm sure someone here can elaborate/clarify).

    Yes, there are still some technological hurdles to overcome in both hardware and software, but at some point I believe it will be possible to generate a scene that is, for all intents, indistinguishable from reality. Then what?

    • * Imagine a video of a government leader caught in a "compromising position". It doesn't have to be ultra-high resolution, either. Just good enough for youtube [youtube.com].
    • * Imagine a video that purports to be from a security camera that shows you breaking into a facility and wreaking havoc. And you were never there. How do you defend yourself?
    • * Imagine the difficulties in a court of law when all audio, photo, and video evidence is suspect.
    • * Imagine a group that is in power (be it government, industry, or whatever), what they'd be willing to do to stay (grow) in power, and what they could do with this.

    The geek in me can't wait for the day for us to have this power. The human in me fears for the day it comes.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

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