About presence

What is presence?

Presence, short for telepresence, happens when people use technology and overlook at least part of its role in the experience:

A telepresence conferencing system makes us feel as if we’re face-to-face; an online virtual world seems real; a 3D IMAX film makes us reach out to touch objects on the screen; we get ‘lost’ in the worlds of novels, TV shows, movies, videogames and theme park rides; doctors, engineers, explorers and many others operate machinery thousands of miles away as if they were at the remote site; students learn about the world and workers learn how to do their jobs using compelling simulations; we think of and interact with computers, agents, avatars, robots and androids as if they were living social entities even though we know they’re not; we’re delighted by perceptual illusions in everything from ancient Trompe-l’œil paintings to modern digital art. As we expand technology’s capabilities and applications, we’re having ever more, and ever more compelling, presence experiences.

On the pages in this section, you can…