One of the major breakthroughs in the history of computing came about with the invention of CAD and CADD programs. These programs allied to the metalanguages derived from SGML and XML have allowed for the dreams of science fiction writers to come true, or potentially so.
CAD or computer aided design was developed from the middle of the Twentieth Century. The basis of CAD programs owes a lot to the theoretical work done by Pierre Bézier on polynomial curves. The tool to make curves on Photoshop is named after him.
CADD programs eventually came into their own in the late 1990s with such programs as SolidWorks and AutoDesk Inventor. These programs allow designers to build in 3 dimensions shapes, machines, objects along with computer generated information about processes, materials, tolerances and dimensions. Everything that teams of designers needed weeks to do using calculators, compasses and protractors can now be done more accurately and much quicker on a computer.
3D modeling allows the designer to look at an object from any angle including from the inside out. Whole processes can be simulated using CAD. This has lead to revolutions in the aerospace and automobile industries. CAD and CADD is now ubiquitous in the design of consumer items, buildings and special effects in movies.
This technology can now be married to the internet. Programs such as Second Life are early attempts at bringing CAD to the web. We now have 3D specs to give existential depth to the images on a computer screen.
The implications are that reality can for the first time be accurately turned into a digital model and then shared simultaneously on the net . Science is the process of making better models of the world so that we can understand how it works. We are now at the stage where our models become virtual worlds. These virtual worlds are in danger of becoming just as real to us as the ‘real world’. The potential for mind control, propaganda as well as psychological therapy are immense. The time is soon coming when we will be living 2 lives – one real and one virtual; and the barrier between the two will become blurred.