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Crime and virtual reality...ethical issues...

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posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 07:41 PM
Lets just think into the future...into a time where we have developed true virual reality technology...I'm talking like something out of The Matrix movie...the brain gives us our perception of reality through nothing but electrical signals...our eyes for example...
Mendon Physics Period 9: HUMAN EYE

The lens changes shape to focus light rays on the retina which is the inner surface of the eye where receptor cells convert the light energy into neural impulses. After the retina codes the neural impulses, the impulses travel along the optic nerve to the brain.
So simply, light hits a special surface at the back of our eye, which is then converted into electrical signals/impulses. We aren't really "seeing light" at all. The same thing happens when we feel an object...our nerves convert the applied pressure into electrical signals which travel to the brain. We hear things because special microscopic hairs inside our eardrums vibrate and produce electrical signals accordingly. And the same things goes with the last two human sensory mechanisms, taste and smell, they rely on electrical signals which are interpreted by the brain. Now imagine if we had technology which could intercept these electrical signals and replace them with artificial ones. Such a technology could make us feel, see, hear, taste and touch anything could place us in a totally different reality and it would seem as real as reality your experiencing at this very moment. I feel such technology will probably need to utilize advanced forms of nanotechnology, but it's entirely theoretically possible. How do you know you aren't in VR (virtual reality) right now? Are you living in a real matrix? However, lets move on, because this isn't the subject of this thread.

OK, so we are imagining this day and age where people get away from "reality" by using VR technology to go places and do things they can only dream of. I'm sure most of you should be familiar with MMO (massive multiplayer online) games. These are games where hundreds and thousands of people become networked and connected and play together in a common virtual world through the use of the internet. They can do quests/missions together and trade items etc. Now lets take this concept and turn it into virtual reality, a game where we become, and can play as the characters, as if we were really in that world, instead of just sitting behind a screen watching those characters. There are also multiple other scenarios where people could become connected in a virtual reality through the use of the internet. For instance, a long distance relationship, people usually use web-cams and things like that to talk to each other, but imagine if you could use VR technology and the internet to make it seem as though you were both in the same room, or even better, on a holiday cruise together? And it all seemed as real as great would that be?

Now picture this...your relaxing with your partner on that holiday cruise...or trading some rare items with your friends...when all of a sudden...a guy/girl (don't want to be sexist)...a person comes along and starts strangling you or torturing you in some gruesome seems a hacker has breached the system and whilst your trying to relax with your partner on a holiday cruise you get virtually murdered...but it seems absolutely real in every way! Now...I know the point of most MMO's are to kill other players and monsters...but I'm sure they'd have safety guards in place...things like reduced pain...and no blood or gruesome looking wounds...but think about if a hacker breached these game rules and you could feel full pain and had your guts spill out when he cuts you open? Now lets go a little deeper into this...and talk about rape...the main damage done to a person when they get raped is mental damage...they feel defiled and disrespected in every possible way...and the mental damage can take a long time to heal...if you got raped in VR and it seems absolutely real would it be any different?

So basically...what I'm getting at I'm asking...should crime be treated any differently if it happens inside VR? Is it really just fake? Is it really just a game? Is murder ok if you don't really die? Is rape ok if it's just fake and not really happening in reality? And what if we are already living in a matrix?

[edit on 25/12/09 by CHA0S]

posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 12:06 AM
I know I shouldn't, but I was looking forward to a discussion on this topic and it got no response after a few days, so I'm bumping my own thread

EDIT: Anyone know why the font and text size options aren't working in posts? They seem to work in my sig. They never worked in posts did they?

[edit on 2/1/10 by CHA0S]

posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 01:37 AM
Explanation: S&F!

I made a thread recently called How to use neuroscience to become your Avatar. and I think that the human body and mind would force a DE-JACKING from the VR network in an extreme circumstance such as those that you describe. This could be a simple as an internal hardwired bios that reaches a critical threshold and boots you from the system or it could be a manual de- coupling where you physically pull the plug out of your skull etc.

Either way I don't think the system would be built to lock people online forever [i.e. Neo ect like in matrix] although I do belive that some users will eventually find someway of making that so for themselves.

I was looking into doing exactly that recently [after those mind reading devices were released to the public] and its at least 2.5 million $USD to get anywhere close to that kind of existence with all the associated medical equipment etc.

Also would there not be VR police to call upon in an emergency?

Personal Disclosure: Getting Base raped in some of the FPS games can leave long lasting mental wounds and so yes the ethics of online behaviour is paramount in a future where most will interact and LIVE online for most of the time. Yes just because it is VR doesn't make it any less of a criminal assault or an affront to human decency. But no environment is ever truly safe and everybody has to take their chances, and just like many ATS members have been moderated and or banned by inapropriately taking their chances with the T&C"s of this website, the future VR criminals will just have to take their chances as well and so will we.

posted on Jan, 2 2010 @ 02:30 AM

Originally posted by OmegaLogos
I think that the human body and mind would force a DE-JACKING from the VR network in an extreme circumstance such as those that you describe. This could be a simple as an internal hardwired bios that reaches a critical threshold and boots you from the system or it could be a manual de- coupling where you physically pull the plug out of your skull etc.
I believe you are correct. It's probably similar to when you have a nightmare and wake up once things get to scary and intense...have you ever had a falling dream and actually hit the ground and stayed asleep?

Another thing to the effect the mind can have on the body...things such as the placebo's believed that the mind actually has the power to kill its self merely by using thought...the power of thought truly is a tremendously incredible thing...I believe that whilst dreaming, we still know somewhere in the back of our mind that we are dreaming, obviously sometimes we can be fully aware we're dreaming, but I'm speaking of the dreams where your brain tricks you into thinking your experiencing something real. Our mind is actually always aware it's dreaming and has the ability to wake up. Also, because of this awareness, if you get injured during a dream, it doesn't effect you in reality...but in rare cases, which I myself have experienced, what takes place in a dream, can actually some times have real physical effects on your body. This is another example of what the mind can do when it truly believes something is taking place...but back to my original point, we don't usually see any real life repercussions arise from dreams, and this is because somewhere in your mind your aware it's a dream.

Now, theoretically, the same thing would happen with VR. If you die in VR, or get seriously injured, it shouldn't really have a physical effect in real life unless you were really getting into it and believed it was real...or in an even worse case...if you were born into the system and told it was real your whole life, you were lied to, and you truly believed with every ounce of your being that you can die, you would die, because you're unaware it's VR and your mind would cause you to die even though in reality nothing at all happened to you. Now this raises the question, what if what we think is the real reality, what we're experiencing now, is actually VR? If we are about to die, but truly believe we aren't going to die, we are absolutely certain this reality is merely VR, would we wake up in another reality? I'm certainly going to try it when I die...but I'd probably be just be lying to myself and not truly believe it, and it wouldn't work...

EDIT: What I have proposed here starts to explore the power of thought...think about hypnotism...I have seen people do the most incredible things...things that defy all logic, and it's because they truly believe in what the hypnotist tells them...just like we are able to change and manipulate our dreams with just thought, I believe it's possible to manipulate reality with just thought, if we TRULY believe with every ounce of our being we can, if we believe, that just like a dream, this reality is merely an this way we can break the illusion and break free of this matrix we have been conditioned to live in...this is probably how Neo acquires the ability to break free of the rules...he finally understands and gains the ability to see the matrix for what it really is...he is even able to see the code that makes up the matrix...he sees it in its most pure and raw form at the most fundamental level, the structure and architecture of reality, the inner workings...ultimately everything revolves around being confident and sure of the truth..."belief" is the key and utter belief emanating from the core of your being...and I do in fact believe this reality is virtual in some way...because I see the effects of the single conscious mind, and combined world consciousness, exert influence on this reality around us all the time...and to me, this implies we live in VR and we have been conditioned to believe we don't...and through this conditioning, we've also lost our ability to harness the power of thought...we've slowly been stripped of any power we did have...and our attention has been directed towards all things physical and material...such that the true nature of reality is kept hidden from us...

[edit on 2/1/10 by CHA0S]

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