Science, Technology, and Reality in The Matrix Online and Tabula Rasa

  • William Sims Bainbridge
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


All virtual worlds possess implicit theories of the nature of reality and of the central values of human life, but the The Matrix Online (MxO) and Tabula Rasa (TR) are notable for having especially well-developed philosophical motivations. Extensive participant-observation research in both revealed that they postulate hidden realities beneath the world of appearances, shared a concern over whether technology would liberate or enslave humanity, and offered players distinctive programming languages with which they could empower themselves. Avatars in both were protean, in different ways capable of evolving along multiple lines of development, and operating secondary avatars that provide challenging metaphors of the ways humans exploit each other. MxO draws heavily upon European theories of the social construction of reality and false consciousness, whereas TR draws upon the ideology of the spaceflight social movement and went so far as to transport the avatars to the International Space Station orbiting the real world.


Virtual World International Space Station False Consciousness Stick Figure Decimal Expansion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Sims Bainbridge
    • 1
  1. 1.VirginiaUSA

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