Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Are We Getting Ahead of Ourselves

Here a soldier demonstrates the Virtual Reality (VR) parachute trainer, while Aviation Survival Equipment man controls the program from a computer console. Students wear the VR glasses while suspended in a parachute harness, and then learn to control their movements through a series of computer-simulated scenarios. The computer receives signals from the student as they pull on the risers that control the parachute. The VR trainer also teaches aircrew personnel how to handle a parachute in different weather conditions and during possible equipment malfunctions. Navy and Marine Corps aviators receive state of the art training at the Naval Survival Training Institute. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Chris Desmond. This is why they do it this way. It saves lives, money, gas for the jets and ect.

I found it interesting that Herbert Zettl of chapter five referenced a quote from Socrates and even named his chapter 'Back to Plato's Cave'. He writes about the philosophical and ethical implications of virtual reality on human action relating it a passage from the "Republic". As we continue to expand our technology it is hard to recognize when we will make a mistake or have pushed the limit too far. Although, I support the virtual reality program for teaching soldiers how to fly, maybe we can direct this energy and expenses toward creating a more positive outcome rather than training soldiers of war. One of the main points in the analogy between Plato and the reading was whether it would be better to stay in a cave remaining in a world of shadows or whether it is better to expand the boundaries. I support stretching the boundaries, but it can be complicated in certain situations when VR has been used to help one's evil actions. For example, the story of the suicide bomber in 9/11 who learned to fly a plane through a VR program. Although we can not prevent cases of people making bad decisions, the question when do you limit the expansion of technology?

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

It is worth thinking about the relationship between technology and violence. Why was the gun called the great equalizer? Does it get easier or harder to kill someone from a distance with firearms as opposed to close up with a sword? How about dropping bombs from a plane, or pushing a button to launch a missile? Certainly, there has been much anxiety after World War Two about how simple and bloodless killing has become, and how the world might be destroyed by the push of a button.