The fourth book in the Digital Minefield Series is Triumph of the Machine. The book is divided into three stages: Rise of the Machine, Fall of Humanity, and Rise of the Virtual.
All three are concurrent, but the sequence describes the dominance of each in its turn. That dominance is the necessary precursor to the ascendancy of the next stage.
The first stage is the Rise of the Machine. Many technology observers think this is inevitable, but it is not. The machine can triumph only if we lack the will to prevent it.
Once the Rise of the Machine is irrefutable, the Fall of Humanity is inevitable. Our species’ ability to adapt is both good and bad news. We will survive as long as the machine needs us.
While the Rise of the Virtual follows the Rise of the Machine and the Fall of Humanity, it also enables them. By accepting the machine’s version of reality, we lose control of the machine.
The virtual is as old as history, literally. Early virtual replicas (dolls, cave paintings) were crude and passive. Technology brings not only a more realistic virtual but an interactive virtual.
As technology advances, more and more people choose the virtual over the real. Today, the virtual is becoming more than a representation. For many, it’s not as good as reality, it’s better.
Once the virtual is preferred, the real no longer has value. The fact of reality, the authenticity of the real, cannot complete against the protection, the insulation, the isolation of the virtual.
Why bother with the potential humiliations of actual human contact when you can have risk-free virtual relationships? And because they’re virtual, they’re wholly under your control.
Why not avoid the confusions and ambiguities of real interactions? Why endure arguments and negotiations? There is never any need to compromise inside your virtual world.