why no one wants vrml
space implies time, journey, anticipation all the things modern society has tried to eliminate in the name of efficiency and destination. why would we return to space after just having overcome it? the glory of information is that we can have it immediately on demand. 100% destination and fulfillment. the only limitations to our information network involve real space. limited bandwidth of billions of physical wires, limited number of frequencys to transmit through the airwaves.
what would we gain from an in-between, an illusionary in-between? this in-between would of course, in actuality, be a destination – a carefully constructed build-up of destinations. advertisers have the most to gain from this, from sidetracking, from build-up, from a quick glance at something you did not intend to look at. of course this is what the advertiser has done already. how many pages can you look at which do not have ads on them? how many pages do you look at which do not have ads on them?
the advertiser has eliminated the idea that he is slowing down your transmission, that the ad is providing an extra step, an additional in-between, a loss of efficiency, by associating himself with the destination, by ‘becoming’ a part of the destination.
the only reason for vrml would be pleasure, erotic and obscene pleasure where everywhere you look is destination (and of course a few prime locations reserved for ads). vrml is the equivalent of placing the milk in the back of the grocery so that you have to walk by all the products screaming for you to buy them in order to get the milk. this is why mega-stores like wal-mart and amazon make their billions. how can you go their store without buying something else. if convenience and efficiency were truly the reason for all the advancements then the restrooms and the milk would be by the front door. remember that milk used to be delivered to your back door daily. no, the reaon is not convenience or efficiency at all, but profit under the guise of convenience and efficiency. it seems more efficient to go to wal-mart even though by the time you add up all the driving and walking you probably would have been better off going to the individual stores. but you only pay once! it must be more efficient.
think of the internet a few years ago. it was all text, no images. the reason for the huge push of image-based web was advertiser-based. most web pages you go to are essentially text-based with a few banner advertising images on top. (luckily for us there are browsers like opera or you can still use the old lynx, or you can employ a web ad-blocker.) the point is this:
1 we don’t want vrml as consumers because it essentially slows down our destinations.
2 what we think we want is irrelevant because advertisers tell us what we want.
3 advertisers will figure out a slick and personalized way to sell things by prolonging browsing within vrml (as with lines by the candy counters at the supermarket)
4 they will tell us that we want vr technology.
5 we will want it (and pipe trillions of our hard-earned money into entertainment and product as we follow carefully placed individualized advertisement links.)
the idea then, is for the advertiser to push while the consumer is pulling. the real problem with vrml from the consumer viewpoint is that is essentially a delay of gratification, which is precisley why it is suited for advertisers. advertising’s sole purpose is to keep you from being gratified. to delay gratification. to build up suspense and desire so that when you finally come to the ‘destination’ you are willing to empty the bank account (for the best new car,- with all the options, the best disney vacation – with all the candies, shows, souveneirs, etc. – the entry fee is only there to make you believe that you are at a destination (and to keep out the rabble), in reality, you spend more time waiting, and more money than you ever dreamed, inside the park because of the suspense and build-up which occured and occurs before you buy). so it is no coincidence that disney just opened their own virtual theme park here in chicago in which you design your own rides, environment, etc. this is the goal of advertisement: to provide an empty and temporary fulfilment of gratification under the guise, under the camouflage, of gratification, of product, of entertainment, of information. movies with carefully place products and leaders telling you how much you need that $4 bag of popcorn with free refills, never mind popcorn costs $0.05. television with advertisements. web pages with banner ads. as we become more and more connected advertisers will be less able to end all transactions with the buying of a physical object, so they will tell us that we want entertainment – which can be easily distributed with limited access, such as locked mp3’s, locked books, locked movies, locked vrml. and let us not forget the millions of free pages with millions of links to locked pages, locked distribution. the fact that i could never buy anything information based again because i can download it for free somewhere on the internet does threaten to upset and economy. but this is just the hook. like getting dos for free and then you are dependent on it and now pay-up. once we are all hooked on the new distribution system, you will be sure to see broader controls put into place. it will become increasingly criminal to post and download distribution for free on the internet. what is the largest question of the internet? not how to distribute to everyone, but how NOT to distribute to everyone.