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Biometric Escapism

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Source: Snow Crash, Page: 38

There's one black-and-white who stands out because he's taller than the rest. The Street protocol states that your avatar can't be any taller than you are. This is to prevent people from walking around a mile high.

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There is a lot packed into this snippet from SnowCrash. In order for any of this height restricting to work, the virtual environment would have to know who you are, and have access to considerable detail about you, including of course, your height information. Otherwise, people would actually have avatars higher than themselves.

This means access to a national, or more likely international registrar, complete with full biometric IDs.

Many VR environments are actually going this way. Moove and Second Life springing to mind; worlds which store increasing amounts of personal data on their users, bringing privacy into question.

Moreover it strikes as a little unfair. If you are 5' 2", one of the draws of the virtual is you can be taller than you are physically, so you could be on a level height with everyone else. These rules would not allow that. Yet, it is an all too plausible near future for social VR.

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About the Book 'Snow Crash'
By Neal Stephenson
Produced By Bantam Spectra

"The other girl is a Brandy. Her date is a Clint. Brandy and Clint are both popular, off-the-shelf models. When white-trash high school girls are going on a date in the Metaverse, they invariably run down to the computer-games section of the local Wal-Mart and buy a copy of Brandy. The user can select three breast sizes: improbable, impossible, and ludicrous. Brandy has a limited repertoire of facial expressions: cute and pouty; cute and sultry; perky and interested; smiling and receptive; cute and spacy. Her eyelashes are half an inch long and the software is so cheap that they are re...
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