Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Paradox lost : the cost of a virtual world

Mark Halpern


This paper touches on a number of seemingly disparate topics—Artificial Intelligence, Fuzzy Logic, String Theory, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, the Cantorian concept of infinite sets—in order to support the thesis that for a large part of the educated public in the Western world, the very concept of reality has been changing over the last few generations, and that the change is being accelerated by our increasing acceptance of the Virtual as a substitute for the traditional Real. This, as I hope to convince you, is a momentous shift in the our world view, and like so many profound but gradual shifts, has gone largely unnoticed. Whether the shift is ultimately a good thing or a bad, it ought not to go unscrutinized; this paper aims to bring it to public attention. (The paradox whose loss is referred to in the title is discussed at the end of the paper. ).

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