THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE “DIGITALGAP” SEPARATING THOSE WITH EASY ACCESS TO DIGITAL TOOLS FROM THE OTHERS WITHIN A GIVEN TERRITORY. IN A DEMATERIALIZED WORLD, IT IS THE EFFECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE REAL WORLD WHICH EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THAT IS AN ISSUE. AMONGST YOUNG GENERATIONS, THE AMOUNT OF INDIVIDUALS THAT ONLY EXPERIENCES THE WORLD IN A VIRTUAL WAY IS GROWING. SO MUCH SO THAT NOW THERE IS SUCH A THING AS AN ANALOG GAP.
he link with the “digital gap” is obvious. It was more of a political issue back then, but today, the analog gap has an ethical dimension, and even maybe a public health dimension. Looking back, we can identify a few key moments explaining the contemporaneous rupture between the virtual and the real worlds more and more people around the globe experience. It was not only the spread of digital tools, it was also the decision to make learning to write by hand optional. The United States of America and Scandinavian countries were the first to make such decisions.
They extended to the developed world in the twenties. Less than two generations after that, not knowing how to write with a pencil has become a marker of social status. Beyond the cognitive aspect, we shifted from a linear and bounded restitution of reasoning to a more sequential one. For some, the loss of the ability to handwrite represents a risk of social and
professional discrimination. For others, this so-called social status marker is no more than a reminiscence of Gutenberg’s case… They outburst “Wait just one generation, and nobody will talk about it anymore!”.
At quite the same period, just before 2020, we saw the use of virtual reality headsets generalizing. Those bulky items, long ancestors of our sclera implants, gave everyone the ability to watch a movie or play video games with a subjective point of view. That was called the disappearance of the distance between the spectator and the media. This distance that was being abolished, this separation both physical and psychologi- cal, was seen, by some specialists, as one of the necessary guarantees in order to retain a clear distinction between fiction and reality. Another turning point enabling the appear- ance of the “analog gap” was the creation of haptic immersion suits.
Not unlike virtual reality headsets, they now seem old-fashioned. One could experience the situations shown in movies or games with one’s body. Nowadays, the immersion is total and absolute, since we are cerebrally, directly or by induction, immersed at the heart of the action.
Yes, but… does one keep one’s feet on the ground, to quote you the old saying? It is the challenge of our time. With the generalization of the universal compensation, our ex-occiden- tal societies embraced the hobby-consump- tion model. Everyone can now focus on their well-being and personal development. The question everybody needs answered is: can this well-being be only virtual?