On the convergence of virtual and actual

I was thinking about Tom Boellstorff’s claim that “culture has always been virtual” when this story arrived, of a man who learned about birth from watching YouTube videos about how to deliver a baby, and then immediately delivered his wife’s baby. There is something about the convergence of virtual worlds and actual ones here in the ability to try out birth (from a few more and less graphic angles) before going through it “for real” which is, I think a nice demonstration of the relationship between virtual and actual. The baby is healthy and the Guardian’s version of the story notes that the man also learned to play guitar and solve a rubik’s cube by watching youtube videos, while the BBC version credits his navy training (another kind of virtual world. It gives me hope for all those level 80 healers out there…

Christopher M. Kelty is an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

4 thoughts on “On the convergence of virtual and actual

  1. Weirdly enough, most level 80 healers learn how to heal on youtube as well…

    …although tbh I think his wife should get the lion’s share of the credit on this one, no?

  2. i would say her virtual and her actual are infinitely closer converged. as for credit? it takes two avatars to tango now doesn’t it?

  3. Interested and true I think the take home here is that the future is now.

    Last weekend I watched a video on a pane of glass in floating in the sky (on my iphone) instantly of how to sheet rock a wall while I was standing in front of a wall with sheet rock and the tools then proceeded to do it.

  4. THAT IPHONE APP IS RACIST AGAINST SHEET ROCK AND IGNORES THE HISTORICAL INJUSTICES COMMITTED TO PANES OF GLASS FOR CENTURIES

    no j/k

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