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virtual reality

GC: n

CT: The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation.
We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school we all learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds.
Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality.

S: https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/what-is-virtual-reality.html(external link) (last access: 21 May 2017)

N: 1. - virtual (adj): late 14c., "influencing by physical virtues or capabilities, effective with respect to inherent natural qualities," from Medieval Latin virtualis, from Latin virtus "excellence, potency, efficacy," literally "manliness, manhood" (see virtue). The meaning "being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact" is from mid-15c., probably via sense of "capable of producing a certain effect" (early 15c.). Computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" is attested from 1959.
- reality (n): 1540s, "quality of being real," from French réalité and directly Medieval Latin realitatem (nominative realitas), from Late Latin realis (see real (adj.)). Meaning "real existence, all that is real" is from 1640s; that of "the real state (of something)" is from 1680s. Sometimes 17c.-18c. also meaning "sincerity." Reality-based attested from 1960. Reality television from 1991.
2. The term virtual reality was coined in 1987 by Jaron Lanier, whose research and engineering contributed a number of products to the nascent VR industry. A common thread linking early VR research and technology development in the United States was the role of the federal government, particularly the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Projects funded by these agencies and pursued at university-based research laboratories yielded an extensive pool of talented personnel in fields such as computer graphics, simulation, and networked environments and established links between academic, military, and commercial work.
3. A surrogate or metaphysical environment created by communications and computing systems.
4. Describes a simulated situation which aims to be indistinguishable from one of real life.
5. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention several movies, among others, Total Recall (1990) directed by Paul Verhoeven, The Matrix (1999) by Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, and Inception (2010) by Christopher Nolan.

S: 1. OED - http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=virtual;(external link) http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=reality(external link) (last access: 21 May 2017). 2. EncBrit - https://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality(external link) (last access: 21 May 2017). 3 & 4. TERMIUM PLUS - (last access: 21 May 2017). 5. http://www.ranker.com/list/best-virtual-reality-movies-list/all-genre-movies-lists(external link) (last access: 21 May 2017).

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CR: artificial intelligence, computer science, cyberspace, intelligent system.

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