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Understanding the concept of Hyper-Reality

  • Ashesh Anand
  • Dec 06, 2021
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We humans have only had access to the physical world for about 200,000 years, which is full with stuff we can feel, taste, hear, smell, and see. Cyberspace, a virtual computer world meant to allow online communication, was born in the 1980s as a result of the internet. 


(Speaking of Cyberspace, check out what it means)


Then, in 1991, the World Wide Web became available to the general public, ushering in a new technology that would radically alter human behaviour.


It's difficult for today's children to fathom a period before computers, smartphones, Google, Netflix, or Instagram. There was a time when we had to memorise phone numbers and ask complete strangers for directions because we were bored. 


Because of the widespread usage of social media and digital gadgets, the web now resembles the real world in appearance and feel. The barrier between reality and imagery has disintegrated.


What is Hyper-Reality?


We now live in a world of hyperreality, in which simulations of reality appear to be more real than the genuine thing. In his book Simulacra and Simulation, French sociologist Jean Baudrillard invented the term "hyperreality." 

Image of Jean Baudrillard, the French sociologist who invented the term "Hyperreality"

Jean Baudrillard (source)

Hyperreality, according to Baudrillard, is "the generation of a reality without genesis by models." When Baudrillard initially proposed the theory of hyperreality in 1981, it was widely regarded as a highly controversial and provocative concept. 


Hyperreality is strongly related to Baudrillard's concept of Simulacrum, which he defines as something that replaces reality with its representations. The present world, according to Baudrillard, is a simulacrum, in which reality has been substituted with false pictures to the point where it is impossible to distinguish between the real and the unreal. 


Watch this: Hyperreality and Social Media


The incapacity of awareness to discern reality from a simulation of reality is known as hyperreality. It describes how the distinction between real and fake is blurred, particularly in postmodern civilizations with advanced technology. 


As a result, because of the different sorts of multimedia that can significantly modify or create an original event or experience, what our mind identifies as real in this world can be 'hyperreal.'


(Definitely check out: What is a Satellite Mega-Constellation? Advantages and Disadvantages)


The Pandemic has widened the scope of the Internet


In many ways, the current state of emergency is the world's largest social and psychological experiment. More than half of the world's population—4.2 billion people—were under partial or complete lockdown at the height of the pandemic. 


Our way of life has been thrown into disarray. Digital pixels are being transmitted across the internet every day, replacing human interaction. People have been spending an unprecedented amount of time online, as expected. 


Zoom currently boasts 300 million daily users, up from just 10 million in December of last year. Twitch has experienced a 56 percent growth in viewing each quarter. As the pandemic has accelerated the shift to e-commerce, Amazon's profits have tripled.


Digital platforms like Zoom, Twitch, and Amazon, for example, have been available for years. Our relationship with technology has evolved, not the technology itself. The global lockdown has undoubtedly accelerated the widespread adoption of e-commerce platforms, online payments, and video conferencing. 


For the first time in history, we have succeeded in bringing society, or at least a significant portion of it, online. Many people have developed new behaviours as a result of the digital environment. Under these circumstances, the virtual world begins to compete for time, resources, and attention with the physical world.


(Do you know? AR can be used in Interior Designing too. Check this out: Benefits of AR in Interior Design)


Virtual propositions are on the rise


We spend the majority of our online time on smartphones while remaining in the actual world. The virtual world, a fully immersive computer-simulated environment in which individuals are represented by digital avatars, is the next step. 


The game business is currently the most obvious example of the virtual world. Games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox have already created intricate worlds in which players may establish new identities, discover new possibilities, and socialise with their friends. Major innovations in the virtual world are being fueled by the tremendous expansion of gaming.

With 2.5 billion individuals spending $100 billion on virtual products, the virtual world has its own economy. Gaming, contrary to common belief, is not a kind of escapism, but rather a way for people to interact on a deeper level with friends and strangers. 


Global brands are scrambling to enter the virtual world from a business standpoint. Nike's League of Legends alliance, Gucci's $10,000 virtual dress, and Balenciaga's runway display in a video game are just a few examples of recent attempts. 


For businesses with a global footprint and physical distribution, the virtual world offers an untapped possibility of 10x income without needing to make real goods. Brands that create appealing virtual proposals, rather than digital advertisements, will surely shape society in the twenty-first century.

(Since you are interested in Hyper-reality, you should check out Extended Reality)


Welcome to the world of Hyper-reality

Finally, we arrive at hyperreality, a situation in which the physical and virtual worlds collide. We've reached a point where we can't tell the difference between the two realities. But, more crucially, the distinction would be irrelevant because the simulated world has equal meaning and worth for everyone. 


Lil Miquela, a virtual influencer with 2.9 million Instagram followers, is an early example. Fnmeka, a Soundcloud rapper driven by AI, has 8 million TikTok followers. And there's Genies, a corporation that believes that everyone will require an avatar to represent themselves.


Watch this Video: Hyper-reality: What is real? | Joong Won Jeong | TEDxAPU


Bottom Line


The global pandemic has obliterated the distinction between the physical and digital worlds even further. The virtual world is increasingly competing for resources with the physical world. The two worlds will collide in the next decade, resulting in a state of hyperreality: a simulation of reality with no source. 


Although it's tempting to reject hyperreality as a science fiction fantasy. Just look at the dramatic shifts in human behaviour and technological uptake that have occurred during the current lockdown. In reality, parts of the hyperreal have already found their way into popular culture. 


This argument is especially important because the leaders of the new world—Generation Z—are as, if not more, at ease online. "We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us," Marshall McLuhan once said.

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