Your reality, the way you look at the world and read its signs, is something you acquire over the course of your life, from the people you listen to, the movies and television you watch, the books and newspapers you read, the parts of the Internet you frequent. When a new piece of information challenges your reality, you look at it sceptically and usually reject it. Hey did you just nearly stop reading? Got you there. Rarely you accept it and with some discomfort, the reality that ought to be moves towards the one that is, and not the other way round. Not always have the Internet, television, movies, newspapers, and books been around. Not even language was, initially. In the beginning, reality was direct and you could be fairly sure that the reality you carried around with yourself was yours and yours alone. With language, it became oral as well. Ways of looking at the world, beliefs about what the world ought to look like, and with them realities started to become imparted on you. Some were more successful than others. Ideologies and religions formed and arguably, the meme was born. With the advent of each new medium, the memes adapted and those that were fitter in the new medium survived their ancestors. So important were the media that whole cultures formed around them, literate cultures displacing oral ones, those that were quicker at transmitting information outcompeting slower ones. Runners replaced by horse messengers, replaced by semaphores, replaced by telegraphs, replaced by the Internet. Clay tablets replaced by handwritten books as mass media (preacher included), replaced by printed books and newspapers, later competing with movies and television, all being subsumed by the Internet. The realities adapted to the new media, even when increasing access to mass media made the shared mindspace rather crowded. Realities are jealous, territorial creatures, rarely does more than one live in one mind and occupy the same space. Competition became tough, ideological wars erupted, fights for both economical resources and mindspace. Then the Internet came and with it the promise of a global consciousness and repository of knowledge. The realities were all thrown into a giant melting pot. Old foes like Culture and Counterculture, Creationism and Evolution extended their battlefields, new consensus realities emerged like those of Wikipedia and the great search engines. Bitcoin and its children attempt to create its own monetary reality, to replace the consensual illusion of fiat money with that of cryptocurrency. But does it look to you like there will ever be one consensus reality, one and one alone? Do you ever look at discussions about religion and go away thinking that they'll eventually sort out their disagreements and found the one ecumenical church (atheist inclusive version)? Take Gamergate. I watched it grow from regular chan drama to mainstream issue, and the rage these people felt initially came from that their reality, one dominated by videogames, suddenly wasn't like it ought to be anymore. Another reality, that of people working at the intersection of feminism and art, had stepped in and asserted itself. Right now, it's going into another round with the Hugo Awards (a relatively prestigious SciFi award). This sort of thing is going to become more common and more global as well. With more people being ever more networked, there are more people to offend and more issues to contend. The friction surfaces between the realities are only becoming larger. Wait, says an industrious entrepreneur who has read more than 1000 pages of Atlas Shrugged and understands the necessity of capitalism for its own virtue, this doesn't have to happen! (He snorts a line of coke before he comes back to you) These people, they do not want truth, they do not even want to be right, they just want their peace of mind. You can't argue with reality you say? Betcha I can! I'm just going to bend reality a little to give these people their peace. As long as their money is real, why should I care about what else they think is real? Here, sit down with me, I've hired these experts who've worked on the Chinese Firewall and kid-safe Internet solutions. They're going to filter out whatever offends my customers and replace it with something agreeable. Wikipedia not being quite accurate about Nikola Tesla's nationality? Abortion not described as sufficiently sinful? Change the content of Tesla's article by just that little bit, blend in Conservapedia entries with Wikipedia where appropriate. Of course, on a large scale this is going to be difficult, but what do we have angel investors and this huge market of machine learning experts for? Nothing will remind these people of disagreement at all, nothing will offend them anymore, they will live in a perfect world! The premium package will include a guarantee, games edited to be like in the golden age (transparently!), and access to forums where people will disagree but only just hard enough to lose the argument. Potential customers include worried parents, state-backed ISPs, internet bullying victims, ethical gamers, I can already see the business plan in my mind the investors are gonna love this oh I'm going to be rich! And he swoons. After recovering he marches off and indeed becomes fabulously rich and famous as the man who successfully sold reality. As a service. published: Apr 09 2015. epistemic status: comment.