Reading Summary (8): Mediated Presence in the Future

Interactivity & Networking

Mediated Presence in the Future by Eva L.Waterworth and John A. Waterworth

Within this chapter, the authors address what is the ultimate mediated presence, which has often been defined as being totally immersed in a virtual world (an alternative world, to the physical, and in competition with it).  This chapter poses the question, what happens when the distinction between the physical and the virtual blurs, which has become a reality with the growth of information technology, is made readily available.

To explore this notion, there are four subcategories:

  1. Action and Altered Body Experiences, which discusses that new interaction methods directly question our understanding of what presence is and how mediated presence will evolve.
  2. First-, Second-, and Third- Person Presences, which looks at how different perspective’s can evoke presence in media. People are adaptable when dealing with mapping of bodily actions making it easier to switch between computer mouse to driving a car.
  3. Social Versus Individual Presences in Media, which is deals with the question of are social and individual presence aspects of the same thing, or in conflict?
  4. Digital Media and the Future Evolution of Presence, explores the future developments of digital media and believes that some kind of digital media become part of the self; but other become part of the other, the non-self. This occurs from heavy dependence on media causing people to feel at a loss when media is not present.

This chapter concludes that due to the strong media presence, technology has become apart of our self, experiences, and memory. Therefore we experience presence through a medium thus causes technology to become part of the self. These authors believe it is unlikely that a full-blown virtual reality, where the “immersant” is isolated from the physical world and exposed to a simulated world through maximized sensor replacement will ever become the dominant technology for generating mediated presence. They predict that people will not experience presence in either a mediated world or in the physical world, but in a mixed reality that includes aspects of both.

I feel that this chapter shows that studies were aware of this phenomena of the mixed reality of media and the physical world and were accurate in their prediction of the future.  I feel that the statements made by either researched individuals or the Waterworth’s are completely accurate, which can be supported by the way people use social media sites such as twitter. Many people create a different persona, or even an extended persona in the online world. Much like a business, these persona’s have a niche and are only liberated to comment on certain topics. I do not feel that it is pausable to create a reality that is more sensory stimulating as the real world, but are certain enhancing the real world, through media realities.


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