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virtual and virtuality

from Wikipedia’s entry on virtual (philosophy):

Deleuze’s concept of the virtual has two aspects: first, we could say that the virtual is a kind of surface effect produced by the actual causal interactions which occur at the material level. When one uses a computer, an image is projected on the monitor screen which depends upon physical interactions going on at the level of hardware. The window is nowhere in actuality, but is nonetheless real and can be interacted with. This example actually leads to the other aspect of the virtual which Deleuze insists upon, which is its generative nature. The virtual is here conceived as a kind of potentiality that becomes fulfilled in the actual. It is still not material, but it is real. Perhaps an example would be becoming inspired by the meaning of a text.

At the same ontological level as “possible,” “real,” or “potential,” “virtual” is defined as that which is not real, but displays the full qualities of the real – in a plainly actual (i.e., not potential) – way. The prototypical case is a reflection in a mirror: it is already there, whether or not one can see it; it is not waiting for any kind of actualization. This definition allows one to understand that real effects may be issued from a virtual object, so that our perception of it and our whole relation to it, are fully real, even if it is not. It explains that virtual reality may be used to cure phobias – which remains contradictory in any conception for which the virtual is a kind of potential.

from Wikipedia’s entry on virtuality continuum:

The Virtuality Continuum is a phrase used to describe a concept that there is a continuous scale ranging between the completely virtual, a Virtual Reality, and the completely real: Reality. The reality-virtuality continuum therefore encompasses all possible variations and compositions of real and virtual objects. The concept was first introduced by Paul Milgram.

This continuum has been extended into a two-dimensional plane of “Virtuality” and “Mediality”[2]. Taxonomy of Reality, Virtuality, Mediality. The origin R denotes unmodified reality. A continuum across the Virtuality axis V includes reality augmented with graphics (Augmented Reality), as well as graphics augmented by reality (Augmented Virtuality). However, the taxonomy also includes modification of reality or virtuality or any combination of these. The modification is denoted by moving up the mediality axis. Further up this axis, for example, we can find mediated reality, mediated virtuality, or any combination of these. Further up and to the right we have virtual worlds that are responsive to a severely modified version of reality. (at right) Mediated reality generalizes the concepts of mixed reality, etc.. It includes the virtuality reality continuum (mixing) but also, in addition to additive effects, also includes multiplicatave effects (modulation) of (sometimes deliberately) diminished reality. Moreover, it considers, more generally, that reality may be modified in various ways. The mediated reality framework describes devices that deliberately modify reality, as well as devices that accidentally modify it.

While the term Augmented virtuality is rarely used nowadays, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality are now sometimes used as synonyms.

{see images on that page}

from Wikipedia’s entry on mixed reality:

Mixed reality (MR) (encompassing both augmented reality and augmented virtuality) refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualisations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. A mix of reality, augmented reality, augmented virtuality and virtual reality.

“The conventionally held view of a Virtual Reality (VR) environment is one in which the participant-observer is totally immersed in, and able to interact with, a completely synthetic world. Such a world may mimic the properties of some real-world environments, either existing or fictional; however, it can also exceed the bounds of physical reality by creating a world in which the physical laws ordinarily governing space, time, mechanics, material properties, etc. no longer hold. What may be overlooked in this view, however, is that the VR label is also frequently used in association with a variety of other environments, to which total immersion and complete synthesis do not necessarily pertain, but which fall somewhere along a virtuality continuum. In this paper we focus on a particular subclass of VR related technologies that involve the merging of real and virtual worlds, which we refer to generically as Mixed Reality (MR).”

from Wikipedia’s entry on simulated reality:

Relativity of reality
As to the question of whether are we living in a simulated reality or a ‘real’ one, the answer may be ‘indistinguishable’, in principle. In a commemorative article dedicated to the ‘The World Year of Physics 2005’, physicist Bin-Guang Ma proposed the theory of ‘Relativity of reality’ [4] (though this notion has been suggested in other contexts like ancient philosophy (Zhuangzi’s ‘Butterfly Dream’) and psychologic analytics [5]). By generalizing the relativity principle in physics, which is mainly about the relativity of motion, stating that the motion has no absolute meaning (to say if something is in motion or rest, one must take some reference frame; without a reference frame, one cannot tell the state of being in rest or in uniform motion), a similar property has been suggested for reality, meaning that without a reference world, one cannot tell the world one is living in is real or a simulated one. Therefore, there is no absolute meaning for reality. Similar to the situation in Einstein’s relativity, there are two fundamental principles for the theory ‘Relativity of reality’.

1. All worlds are equally real.
2. Simulated events and simulating events coexist.

The first principle (‘equally real’) says that all worlds are equal in reality, even for partially simulated worlds (if there are living beings, they feel the same level of reality just as we feel). In this theory, the question “whether are we living in a simulated reality or a ‘real’ one” is meaningless, because they are indistinguishable in principle. The ‘equally real principle’ doesn’t mean that we cannot differentiate a concrete computer simulation from our own world, since when we are talking about a computer simulation, we already have a reference world (the world we are in).

Coupled with the second principle (‘coexistence’), the space-time transformation between two across-reality objects (one is in real world and the other is in virtual world) was supposed in this theory, which is an example of interreality (mixed reality) system. The first ‘interreality physics’ experiment may be the one conducted by V. Gintautas and A. W. Hubler, where a mixed-reality correlation between two pendula (one is real and the other is virtual) was indeed observed.[6]

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