Part 2: The Scuba Diver

In trying to come to an understanding of this of problem of Real World vs. Digital environment I propose the following hypothesis. If the same basic rules (first principle concepts) apply to both the digital and physical environment, then the two environments can be considered as a seamless coherent whole.

Let us start by using a scenario where there are definitely two different sets of rules for each of the two environments within the scenario.

A scuba diver and a rock climber both have identical physical laws of gravity (g = GM/r2) but differences in their respective environments (water and air) will profoundly affect how they behave should they be asked to jump off a hundred-meter-high ledge within their respective environments. The scuba diver will happily ‘jump’ off because there is buoyancy in his/her environment. The rock climber on the other hand will be reluctant, seeing death as the inevitable conclusion should he/she jump off the ledge. While gravity is the same for both parties within the physical environment, the way they experience the effects of gravity is profoundly different within each environment. Environmental differences therefore have a profound effect on behaviours. Now consider the same scenario in the digital environment. Will the human/avatar jump of a cliff in the game? Sure because even if the player does not have enough points they can always start the game again.

There is trust in the buoyancy qualities of the water, trust in gravity and trust in a technology re-boot. However, even though trust is consistent in each case, the way human behaviour manifests it is very different within each environment. Trust is a first principle concept, something that humans have developed over the millennia. To accurately define a first principle concept is extremely difficult but we all know it when we experience it. Using this logic if first principle concepts are experienced differently in the digital and the physical environment then we can have a case for the environments being separate.

The digital environment cannot be considered as being a continuum of the real world environment because our first principle concepts truly differ in the digital environment. Our human activities within both the real world and the digital environments are and will increasingly be more seamless but our subconscious cognitive processing will view the two environments as being different regardless of how it is being marketed.