The Vapor Test: Hyperreal No. 2

At the mid-point of the twentieth century, computers were a central object of attention - rare, expensive, and demanding. To save money, we learned how to share that massive resource via peripherals - computers accessed via keyboard and screen, then mouse, then touch, becoming more and more natural as the interface moved closer and closer to the body. By the second decade of the twenty-first century, the computer vanished into ubiquity, weaving itself into the fabric of nearly every fabricated object, moving beyond perception. Just at the moment it disappears from view, computing has acquired the capacity to frame human perception, a figure/ground reversal with enormous consequences. No longer part of the scenery - become it cannot be seen - the computer instead assumes the role of scenery manufacturer, generating reality. While not wholly creatures of perception, we necessarily observe and respond to our environments. Changes in our environments change us in ways both immediate and permanent. The computer has now become an actor in the field of reality. -Mark Pesce #Vaportest

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