John Perry Barlow via Medium:
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Facebook buys Oculus for $2 billion, identifying virtual reality as the operating system of the future. Hollywood begins making movies in VR. Google creates VR “Spotlight Stories” that make Android phones into VR devices. A sub-branch of VR, “augmented reality,” overlays a virtual world over our real one. (Did I say “real”? That’s a relative term now.)
In short, we are smack in the middle of a virtual reality boom. But it’s not the first time. In the early 1990s, experimenters and entrepreneurs were immersing lucky test-users in fantastic (and sometimes nauseating) artificial worlds. The equipment was funkier, the resolution was spottier, and the money wasn’t nearly as big — but writers and pundits at that time were expounding on the same themes that captivate us about virtual reality in 2015.
No document in that period captured the virtual zeitgeist as well as John Perry Barlow’s 1990 “Being in Nothingness.” Barlow, who had been a Wyoming rancher and a lyricist for Grateful Dead, had only recently turned his prodigious attentions to technology (he would wind up co-founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation).