he stages of technology development leading up to the simulation point. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Reality, as we see it is pretty pliable. If we can create a virtual reality simulation, indistinguishable from reality, can we even guess what reality is, in the first place?

“Reality,” Albert Einstein reminds us, “is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.”

Rizwan Virk, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in common with other scientists has a slightly different take on reality. It’s not our “perception,” he says. “Reality, is information,” data-collected, and rendered into pixels-the most basic units of the pictures, we see. Millions of pixels give us a kind of replication or reality on our televisions and computer screens.

Take a digital photograph and zoom in as close as you can. Those tiny dots you can see are pixels. Those will be invisible with the next big step in virtual reality, the evolution of “8K Ultra High Definition” imagery.

We have to think about the people who will populate the virtual world-the computer generated characters. Did you know today’s screen stars are an endangered species? Maybe, they’ll be part of the Sixth Great Extinction. Technology is creating “virtual actors” to replace them.