This book looks at the origins and the many contemporary meanings of the virtual. Rob Shields shows how the construction of virtual worlds has a long history. He examines the many forms of faith and hysteria that have surrounded computer technologies in recent years. Moving beyond the technologies themselves he shows how the virtual plays a role in our daily lives at every level. The virtual is also an essential concept needed to manage innovation and risk. It is real but not actual, ideal but not abstract. The virtual, he argues, has become one of the key organizing principles of contemporary society in the public realms of politics, business and consumption as well as in our private lives.
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abstract actual Africa allow argued ARPANET attempts become Bergson brand Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Chapter chat computer-mediated communications computerization concept concrete consumer context corporate create customers cyberpunk cyberspace dataglove Deleuze digital virtuality display economic Economist electronic Enron Eucharist everyday example exchange existing experience global head-mounted display human ideal imagined impact interaction Internet keyboard knowledge labour liminal machines material memory metaxis networks notion objects offered operators organizations personal computers popular possible present problem programs relation relationship repetitive strain injuries risk culture risk society rituals screen sense shift simulation social Space Invaders spatial subculture telecommunications telephone telework transactions trust ubiquitous computing understanding users video-games virtual environments virtual reality virtual space virtual teams virtual worlds visual workers workplace