We live in a world of virtual reality: virtual conversations, virtual relationships, virtual work, and virtual leisure. Artificial intelligence is on a mission to replace us all with avatars: bright, shiny versions of ourselves. Central banks have been busy creating a virtual financial world, comprising virtual balance sheets, virtual creditworthiness, and virtual financial asset prices. Governments, for their part, have chimed in with virtual budgets, virtual guarantees, and virtual promises.
According to the dictionary, virtual is “almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition”. Hence, a mirage is a virtual oasis and a VAR-disallowed goal is a virtual score.
Melanie Reid, a columnist in the Saturday Times magazine – a must-read in our house – describes her virtual life as a tetraplegic, following a riding accident more than ten years ago. Her latest column articulates her belief that, within a couple of years, people will be begging to spend three days a week in the centralised workplace again.