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From Wagner to Virtual Reality

The modern computer began in the imagination of science fiction writers such as William S. Burroughs and has grown into the powerful machine we know and use today. As computing experience becomes more self socialized, will we progress towards a more solitary-communiity existence.

Much thought went into the ever-going struggle to create the ultimate computing machine. A machine that could not only allow a person completely unrestricted interaction, but also one that could provide a total communication and interaction driven environment that could submerse one into an entirely different reality altogether, for which anything is possible.

The history of the modern computer is relatively short when compared to that of the world. Yet, so far it has swiftly progressed into exactly what most visionaries predicted it to be: an interface that affords many different kinds of experiences to satisfy the needs of each user. Each advancement in technology has brought the modern computer closer to answering the ultimate interactive experience.

The computer has become a melting pot of combined ideas, which were conceived over the past 3 centuries. One of the unlikely visionaries was the novelist William S. Burroughs. He helped theorize the idea of a non-linear structure that would promote creativity by eliminating hierarchy. He imagined books where a reader could choose their own path and become just as important to the story as the novelist. Another example is the telephone answering service inbound call trunk that routes in one line and can take a skills based path to the best operator to fit the needs of the caller. Even though neither of these concept does not directly apply to computers, the underlying message is very important to understanding how the computer was conceptualized. By eliminating hierarchy, the user is free to continually create without worrying about direction: since human beings think idiosyncratically, it is essential to the user.

Unfortunately the future of the computer is not as certain as some would like. Many see the potential for a utopian type of experienceFree Reprint Articles, while others warn that the direction we are currently heading in is actually more of a dystopia. The "marketing-driven broadcast model of 20th century media" is attempting to manipulate this incredible tool into one used for extortion and persuasion. Only time will tell if we can truly coexist with this incredible technology that allows us so many opportunities both good and bad.

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