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Book Quotes: Identity Without Fixed Form

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Source: Virtual Light, Page: 280

None of their voices were real, even; it was all digital stuff. God-eater could just as well be a woman, or three different people, or all three of the ones he'd seen there might've been just one person. He thought about the woman in the wheelchair at Cognitive Dissidents. It could be her. It could be anybody. That was the spooky thing about these hackers.

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This is the thing about identity in cyberspace. You have the chance to wash away any and all physical identifiers, and become anything your mind can imagine. For some this is a truly liberating experience; able to forge a brand new identity, and be who they have always truly believed they are.

For others, it is a nightmare as they can no longer pigeonhole others into neat little boxes, and the psychological triggers some are trained to look for, no longer necessarily apply. Without those pigeonholes, they are forced to consider people on their own merits, as the persona they present, and without neat little labels to back up their own perceptions of these people. For some, this is deeply unsettling.

One thing that this quote does get wrong, is the initial section, talking about how none of the voices were real; they were obviously digital recreations. Unless the voices used are copied and pasted from various digital films, which is what the quote could mean, then there is no reason that a virtual voice, created from customised phonemes would be discernible from one created from a natural larynx, given a high enough degree of sophistication.

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About the Book 'Virtual Light'
By William Gibson
Produced By Penguin Books Ltd

"Those VL glasses. Virtual light.
She'd heard of it, but she wasn't sure what it was. "They expensive, Sammy Sal?"
"Shit, yes. Bout as much as a Japanese car. Not all that much more though. Got these little EMP drivers around the lenses, work your optic nerves direct. Friend of mine, he'd bring a pair home from the office where he worked. Landscape architects. Put 'em on, you go out walking, everything looks normal, but every plant you see, every tree, there?s this little label hanging there, what its name is. Latin under that.""

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