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Web Project Manager,

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The CTRL-Z Effect

Do you believe that our ability to manipulate reality in the virtual world affects our interactions and expectations in the physical world.

I am talking more specifically of social interactions, and relationships. The physical world has laws that govern it. As humans we just love to control things and bend them to our will. We have done this for thousands of years in the physical world, but physical laws create some restraint to the extent and the speed that change can happen.

Now that we have created a virtual medium where we mirror reality, we can manipulate it in any way we see fit. This opens up a whole lot of opportunities to experiment with new experiences and interactions, but at the same time, because of the very fluid nature of the medium, change is happening at a faster and faster rate as more people interact and create tools to interact differently.

I see a lot of very real challenges facing our society moving forward.

How can we better use the internet, and the virtual world to facilitate authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling relationships, with the challenges we are facing?

I know this is a large topic, but I would like to know what the rest of the TED community feels with regard to this important topic.

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    May 4 2012: Relationships are built on face-to-face time, aka facetime. It is not unusual for long-time pen pals to finally meet and realize the other person is quite different than expected. Reading this opinion of mine, if an expresion of my true feelings, tells you something about me but nothing important. We would have to meet and observe one another before any REAL likes or dislikes could be known. The virtual world lacks reality, duh. The real world is where relationships exist.
  • Apr 17 2012: The idea of a ctrl-z interaction is exactly the problem. Whereas ctrl-z is the means to suspend a process, there is a misconstrued belief humans may be put on hold while we edit the conversation or trim it to be 'just right.'
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    Apr 4 2012: Currently the divide between reality and virtual reality is too big, too immense, to have any considerable effect on the way we interact with other people. Of course, experiences in the virtual world make us understand who we are and the limits that are imposed on us. Nevertheless, I would argue that it creates an urge for more in our every day lives. Especially games nourish the player's fascination. This fascination could be productive, but also counterproductive as it might create a feeling of inadequacy.

    Though I only speak about personal experience. I had the privilege to manage an online community related to gaming. I met these people both online and offline, and I can tell you that the differences are noticeable. The most rowdy person on the web could be the quietest person in the room in real life.