As virtual worlds get more and more real, avatars tend to get more and more sur real. Representing ourselves as fantasy figures is fine when using media for entertainment but not when using media for enlightenment. If impression management is your goal, then you will indeed want to play out various roles including the people you would like to be. However, if self-disclosure is your goal, then you want to present your real self. If the goal of authenticity in Virtual Worlds is applied to Avatars, then one aspires to (re)present self in cyberspace as accurately as possible.

      There are obvious difficulties. The human capacity for self-deception is legendary. However, as the world's foremost expert on ourselves, we can perhaps come as close to an accurate self-portrait as anyone else. How do we represent ourselves? Various people argue that we are what we eat, we are what we wear, we are what we own. Those are obviously very superficial snapshots. A better case can be made for the argument that we are what we know. Much of our essence is lost in such a conceptual self-portrait. However, it is perhaps all that is capturable by media.

      The nervous system, like the computer, is an analog-to-digital converter. All the subtle sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of our rich qualitative sensory experience is reduced to a bland quantitative lowest common denominator of 0s and 1s. We gain much in this transition but also lose much. In attempting to simulate ourselves on the computer we perhaps have to sacrifice the loss of quality at the altar of quantity.

     One of the gains is a clearer conception of ourselves as information-processing systems. Describing ourselves in terms of what we know is the same as describing ourselves in terms of what we have learned and in terms of what we will remember. "I have learned", "I know", and "I will remember" are the same statements in past, present, and future tenses. This puts each of us within the broad co-evolutionary framework. Each of us can be characterised as that footnote we have added in our individual lives to the knowledge our species has accumulated in its collective life.

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