18 January 2010

Will Avatar Work?

Guest Article by Susan White

This post is written by Susan White, who writes on the topic of Becoming a Radiologist. She welcomes your comments at her email id: susan.white33@gmail.com .

Will Avatar Work?

My friends loved it; I didn’t think it was any great shakes; no matter what the reaction of individuals however, there’s no doubt that James Cameron’s Avatar is making history at the box office with its unprecedented success. People are raving about the visual effects that are best experienced in IMAX and 3D, and how Cameron has outdone himself with the theme of the movie and the wonderful world of Pandora that he has created.

While I wasn’t too thrilled with the visual effects (even though they were stunning), what really intrigued me was the process of two bodies sharing one mind and one soul, exactly what an avatar is. The western world grasped the eastern concept of rebirth through avatars because of online environments like Second Life and other virtual games where you have a separate online persona that take on characteristics of their own and are actually quite different from the way you are in real life.

In the movie, the hero is a cripple confined to a wheelchair, until he gets into his Na’vi avatar that is; then he is transformed into a tall blue creature with ears and tails that has some human characteristics and is able to survive on distant Pandora, a moon with an environment hostile to earthlings. The avatar project is the innovation of a scientist on earth – simply put, you have two bodies, your own and the one created using your gene sequence and Na’vi properties; your mind and soul transfer from one body to the other with the switch of a button.

As far as the movie is concerned, the concept of mind travel (if I can call it that) is what is mind-blowing, not the visual effects that have been conjured up by Cameron and his gang. The film is set in the year 2154, and technology has advanced by so many years as well. We have more than a century to get this far ahead in time, but technology is advancing more rapidly than we realize. There may soon come a day when fiction becomes fact and we’re able to step into a different body, and if that happens, then the term “identity crisis” takes on a whole new meaning. There could be chaos and confusion as people switch bodies at will, and the world as we know it will be totally changed.

But that is all far away in the distant future, if it is even a possibility. But even so, we have to be responsible in the way we develop and use technology, else we’re bound to see the total disintegration of society.

see this LINK also for related AVATAR post.


  1. Second Life, and other MMOGs, are already providing host environments for people with disabilities and, as the population ages, I think we can expect an influx of tech-savvy, mobility compromised people looking to take advantage of simulated capacities. At present, people are reporting increased well-being as a result of the freedoms virtual world relationships and activities are offering - and that's without the 'mind travel'. I'd say the race is on!

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