Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I just can't be politic. I never learned how to do that and I don't like doing that. I think it's false."
- Harlan Ellison

Avatar  
  A computer-enhanced doppelganger; a computer-generated image that takes your place in a three-dimensional online encounter.  

Although the term 'avatar' was used in an earlier computer game, Neal Stephenson was the first person to spend a fair amount of time in the metaverse describing them. Certainly, the novel Snow Crash popularized and fixed the term in the computer science lexicon.

As Hiro approaches the street, he sees two couples probably using their parent's computer for a double date in the Metaverse. He's not seeing real people, of course. It's all part of a moving illustration created by his computer from specifications coming down the fiber optic cable. These people are pieces of software called avatars. They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other in the Metaverse.
From Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam in 1992
Additional resources -

An avatar is an incarnation of a deity in human form; the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word is "he passes or crosses down." It is taken from Hindu philosophy. Just as the deity "passes down" from the higher realms of being to the simpler realm of the material Earth, so a person becomes an avatar in a simpler computer-generated reality.

The first use of graphic or text virtual identities was in multi-user domains (MUDs); although MUDs were first created in the late nineteen-seventies, "avatar" is a more recent term for a virtual character.

In the 1985 game Ultima IV, to become the Avatar was essentially the goal of the game. This became your screen name; customization of your Avatar character was allowed.

For a "real-world" example, see the SF in the News story Church of Fools: The Coming of the Avatar?.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Snow Crash
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to Snow Crash
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

Avatar-related news articles:
  - Church of Fools: The Coming Of The Avatar?
  - The Rapture Of The Avatar
  - Alter Ego Exhibit - Avatars Revealed
  - Games Of Tomorrow Built By Players Wiki-Style
  - The Church of Elvis
  - Real-Time Avatars Mirror Your Expression
  - High Fidelity Produces More Expressive Avatars!
  - Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'

Articles related to Communication
Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
Will The Super Bowl Go To Pay Per View?

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
A whole new world awaits you, John Anderton!

The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)
"We had leisure to make a thorough observation of the hidden side of earth's satellite."

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.