Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

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1.a. Possessed of certain physical virtues or capacities; effective in respect of inherent natural qualities or powers; capable of exerting influence by means of such qualities.
3.a. Capable of producing a certain effect or result; effective, potent, powerful.
g. Computers. Not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so from the point of view of the program or the user.

Press Release

Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies will host a three-day conference entitled, "VIRTUALY2K," from Friday to Sunday, November 5–7, 1999, in the Richard and Edna Salomon Center for Teaching at Brown. During the conference, more than two-dozen political and literary theorists, economists, military officers, computer scientists, filmmakers, journalists, and foreign affairs specialists will explore how digitized and networked technologies are transforming the world and our lives.

From Desert Storm to Kosovo, from the Pentagon to Hollywood, a convergence of warring simulations and public dissimulations, of battlesites and websites, of the PC and TV, exists today. Global politics—only just keeping pace—is undergoing a radical change. With the viral spread of networked computers, as the virtual becomes ever more actualized in our daily lives, much of what is familiar in the world is being reconceptualized, if not turned upside down. The virtual now touches every aspect of our lives: our identity, economy, environment, and security. Never before in history has such a technological concentration of information and power become not only possible but an accepted reality.

VY2K will bring international scholars, writers, practitioners, and critics to interrogate the nature and future of virtual worlds. They will ask:
  • What is at stake in this brave new world of virtuality?
  • Has modernity been overtaken by a "virtual condition"?
  • If so, what are the technical, political, and ethical implications?
  • Is war now the continuation of politics by virtual means?
  • Will politics itself become the virtual extension of war?

As the century ends and a millennium begins, VY2K will open a debate about what is becoming one of the most important political, social, and philosophical questions of human development: the power and opportunity, dangers and politics of virtuality.

Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies is sponsoring "VIRTUALY2K." The conference is made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation, with additional support from Brown’s Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Culture and Media Studies.

For more information about the conference, see
Watson_Institute, or e-mail:, or the see the Brown News Bureau’s site
at A full list of participants and scheduled sessions is attached to this press release.

Press Photos

appearing here soon

Contact Information

Nancy Hamlin Soukup
External Affairs, Writer/Editor
Watson Institute for International Studies
Brown University
Two Stimson Avenue, Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
T: 401.863.3438
F: 401.863.1270
Beeper: 401.969.5085

General Information

available here

info dialogue links
symposium participants netcast