I was disappointed when I first saw the Matrix, because the notion of a person being raised in virtual reality was something I had been exposed to, and found interesting. In 1991, a Shadowrun sourcebook called Virtual Realities came out, and in it was a short story about a character that was raised in virtual environment. The story ended with the character looking upon "real life" with real eyes, and a description of what an alien sensation it was.
I tend to regard human perception as pretty thin, partly because of how easily it is to fool (see yesterday's post), but sometimes I wonder if it's also because of what I do for a living. I mean, with games, we find ourselves more or less transported, eyes fixated on a screen as we drive our characters around to explore and succeed in a pseudo-reality. And though there are a too many reasons for it being impractical in reality, another loved idea in science fiction is the holodeck.
So when my job is to create compelling worlds, and when it strikes me as likely that in the future we could create a virtual environment as compelling as reality, and when I have a hard time distinguishing for myself the difference between my animal neuron cognizance and a complicated AI cognizance (both of which take in input, process it, and act according to an automated process of priority)... I almost find it likely that whatever think is reality is just one layer of an onion. Not in a religious sense, but a virtual one.
Not that it makes any difference. Sorry for the trip down loony lane!