Who needs real hands anyway?
Who needs real hands anyway?
Michel Lévy-Provençal

-Essay-

PARIS — Will reality become a rare commodity?

The digital revolution has given humans the greatest power — that of creating and manipulating reality. We make machines and algorithms that can imitate our world so well that they manage to deceive our brains. For example, Applied VR, a U.S. startup, offers a therapy based on virtual reality as an alternative to tranquilizers. The startup's work is similar to that of Miguel Nicolelis, a doctor from North Carolina who managed to make his paraplegic patients recover sensations and regain partial control of their limbs by immersing them into virtual worlds.

We are just at the beginning of a major revolution. Growth prospects of this virtual future are underestimated, just like the Internet was in the 1990s. Virtual reality devices will soon transform how we organize work. Why would we bother going to a specific place when it can come to you in a matter of seconds? Business trips will be redesigned and making purchases inside physical stores will be reinvented. New forms of intimate relationships will emerge. One can already find a virtual girlfriend on AliceX, a virtual reality site for adults.

In the virtual world we would live in, what would our homes, clothes and holidays look like? First, we would have so many personalized choices. And above all, this virtual world would be so much cheaper because nothing is made of physical material. The experience of reality will obviously continue but it would become rare.

Since digital technology is pervasive, reality would become something like a luxury good. If you think this is an exaggeration, just observe the addictive power of technology. Look at the hordes of Pokémon Go players in their quest for virtual characters. Business magnate Elon Musk said in June that he was convinced that humans had a one in a billion chance of not living in a simulation. Maybe he was just referring to what our lives will be like in about 15 years?

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Geopolitics

REvil Bust: Is Russian Cybercrime Crackdown Just A Decoy From Ukraine?

This weekend’s unprecedented operation to dismantle the cybercriminal REvil network in Russia was carried out on a request and information from Washington. Occurring just as the two countries face off over the Russian threat to invade Ukraine raises more questions than it answers.

Kyiv blamed Russia for another cyber-attack that knocked out key Ukrainian government websites last week

Cameron Manley

The world’s attention was gripped last week by the rising risk of war at the Russia-Ukraine border, and what some have called the worst breakdown in relations between Moscow and Washington since the end of the Cold War. Yet by the end of the week, another major story was unfolding more quietly across Russia that may shed light on the high-stakes geopolitical maneuvering.

By Friday night, Russian security forces had raided 25 addresses in St. Petersburg, Moscow and several other regions south of the capital in an operation to dismantle the notorious REvil group, accused of some of the worst cyberattacks in recent years to hit targets in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West.

And by Saturday, Russian online media Interfax was reporting that the FSB Russian intelligence services revealed that it had in fact been the U.S. authorities who had informed Russia "about the leaders of the criminal community and their involvement in attacks on the information resources of foreign high-tech companies.”

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