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Virtual Worlds

10 articles
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Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

How technological progress slowed from its 20th-century peak, why we’ve shifted from changing reality to simply simulating reality, and whether capitalism is the true culprit.

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Burning Man

On a U.S. soldier burned to the verge of death and the virtual-reality video game doctors used as treatment when he came home.

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Where Do Dwarf-Eating Carp Come From?

A profile of Tarn and Zach Adams, creators of the computer game Dwarf Fortress:

Dwarf Fortress may not look real, but once you’re hooked, it feels vast, enveloping, alive. To control your world, you toggle between multiple menus of text commands; seemingly simple acts like planting crops and forging weapons require involved choices about soil and season and smelting and ores. A micromanager’s dream, the game gleefully blurs the distinction between painstaking labor and creative thrill.

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The Visionary

A profile of Jaron Lanier, virtual reality pioneer and the author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.

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Crypto Rebels

Steven Levy’s piece on cypherpunks and Internet libertarians could not feel more relevant in the wake of WikiLeaks’ rise and the heavily scrutinized role of online organizing in recent revolutions. During Wired’s first year, I’d just gotten an Internet account and had somehow stumbled on the magazine. It became my guide to this hybrid life that we all live now, half-online, half-offline.

-A. Madrigal

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Confessions of a Former Adolescent Puck Tease

A remembrance of relationships formed when the author, at 13 and using a false identity, frequented hockey chat rooms.

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Programmed for Love

Fifteen years ago, Sherry Turkle developed a little crush on a robot named Cog. Since then, the MIT professor has been studying our ever-increasing emotional reliance on technology. She’s not optimistic about where we’re headed.

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Obsessed with the Internet: A Tale from China

On boot camps designed to break kids of their web addiction.

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A Crime of Shadows

The cop says she nabbed an online sexual predator. He says he was just willing to chat whatever it took to get laid in real life. Their story, from both perspectives.

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The Unreal Estate Boom

How virtual worlds like Ultima Online form economies and the sellers who make a living in digital goods.