Yep, everybody's doin' it. Going virtual, that is.
There's the IBM computer, Watson, that beat out two former champs (real, not virtual) in a trial run of a "Jeopardy" competition. Then there are some Florida classrooms populated by computers, not teachers, entrusted with student learning.
In the battle of man vs. machine, the machine is clearly winning. One Florida school official defends the computerized teaching by pointing out that virtual teachers don't do any of the following: molest students, stage sickouts, gossip, demand more free periods, refuse to do lunchroom duty, or complain about overcrowded classrooms.
In fact, so many folks have gotten carried away with the virtual craze, that it's now spreading to many fields of endeavor. "Why limit this fantastic idea to just classrooms and game shows?" an enthusiastic supporter of the virtual craze commented. He went on to suggest a few other virtual "replacements," pointing how they would be superior to their human counterparts: virtual doctors (they'd be on time for their appointments and would -- surprise -- actually listen to patients), virtual pilots (they wouldn't get drunk, take unauthorized naps, or do too much yakking in the cockpit), virtual lawyers (no scamming of the clients), and virtual babysitters (no more shaken baby syndrome, they'd have infinite patience!).
Meanwhile Dorothy, a five-time divorcee, is delighted at the thought of a virtual husband. "With No. 6, I definitely plan to go virtual," she confided, continuing, "Imagine having a hubby who wouldn't complain about my cooking, would mow the lawn on schedule, and even remember to put the toilet seat back down." With a sigh, she added: "Now that would be marital bliss."