Zizek (presciently) on virtual reality

From all the way back in 2004 (!), in “Conversations with Zizek”, between Slavoj Zizek and Glyn Daly:

As a result, the taste of reality we get today comes from products, situations, or actions deprived of their substance: In today’s market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. And the list goes on: what about virtual sex as sex without sex, the Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties … as warfare without warfare … up to today’s tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of Other deprived of its Otherness.

Virtual reality simply generalizes this procedure of offering a product deprived of its sub­stance: it provides reality itself deprived of its substance, of the resisting hard kernel of the Real – in the same way that decaffeinated coffee smells and tastes like real coffee without being the real thing, so virtual reality is experienced as reality without being real.