[extropy-chat] META (Was Re: LA Times: My Avatar)
lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Mar 10 14:19:19 UTC 2007
I thank PJ (and others) who cut & paste at least the introductory
paragraphs of links they provide.
I bail quickly when I see only links these days, unless there is
something *really* compelling.
Life is short, thanks, (though in this particular instance, I already
knew about 2nd life).
----- Original Message -----
From: "pjmanney" <pj at pj-manney.com>
> You be the judge.
> 800 WORDS
> My Avatar
> Dan Neil
> Great. Another world where I can't afford beachside real estate. Welcome to Second Life, the hugely hyped online social-networking
> cosmos/geekapalooza where players have unlimited freedom to shape the virtual world around them, and redesign themselves at will.
> They—that is, the animated versions of themselves, their "avatars"—can buy and sell real estate, start their own businesses,
> create art, discuss literature, go to movies and concerts. Second Life is a separate graphical reality, a "metaverse" limited only
> by the imagination.
> All of which sounds quite promising—Plato's Republic at the speed of broadband—except that this brave new world of human potential
> is 98% stupid, overrun with sex clubs, discos, casinos, yard sales, tragic architecture and more shopping malls than the San
> Fernando Valley. More Sin City than SimCity. Far from being the real world perfected, Second Life comes off as a zoo of its
> players' collective debaucheries. And it mocks all attempts to take it seriously. For example, when a volunteer for the John
> Edwards campaign set up an office in SL, he failed to notice the adult goods emporium next door. Is this what happens when you
> wiki reality?
> A little background: Second Life is the creation of Linden Lab in San Francisco, which opened up the website four years ago.
> Players—about a million logged on last month, many of them not drunk—pursue their happiness on about 139 square miles spread over
> three continents and thousands of tiny islands. The SL world has a sky, a horizon, a night and day. Times passes. Like a typical
> console game—for instance, Grand Theft Auto—SL is a 3-D world in which objects and surroundings move in relation to the player.
> You see other players and they, in their avatar-centric view, see you. The environment is rendered in rough, low-resolution
> digital textures, for now. In 10 years, SL will likely have the silky verisimilitude of Hollywood CGI.
> Joining SL is free, but to own property you have to pay a $9.95 monthly fee plus land-use costs proportional to your acreage (yes,
> even if you are from Orange County). Got your eye on that little parcel on the coast of the Southern Continent? The coin of the
> realm is Linden dollars, which you can buy from the almighty Linden Godhead with your credit card, at a rate of about 270 Linden
> dollars per $1.
> Residents are free to build whatever they want on their land: ski resort, dungeon, big-box mall. To fly the skies of SL—did I
> mention your avatar can fly?—is to appreciate the wisdom of zoning regulations. It's like Monopoly on mescaline.
> Sound weird? Believe me, it is. Whatever its potential might be (the future of telecommuting?), SL is mostly a fantastically
> elaborate chat room where players go to dance, hang out on nude beaches and otherwise live their fantasy lives. There are almost
> no fat or unattractive avatars wandering around SL. Most of the females are large-breasted hotties, most of the men have torsos
> like Roman cuirasses.
> I can't even begin to hint at the polymorphous perversity available in Second Life, but the most popular place, at the moment I
> check, is Naughty Neva's Free Sex Orgy Room, where virtual sex workers pole-dance and lure customers into back rooms.
> Surprisingly, the Real World wants in in the worst way. In February, Sweden became the first country to open an embassy in Second
> Life. And Toyota debuted its new Scion models, aimed at Generation D, in an SL press event. The month before, the Sundance Film
> Festival held a screening of the documentary "Strange Culture" in SL. At about the same time, Arianna Huffington and other
> participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos participated in an SL event intoning the possibilities of the new virtual
> frontier. In short, all the cool kids are playing it. To keep up with these doings, Reuters and other news organizations have
> opened their own virtual SL bureaus. Whatever.
> In my week in Second Life, I had the usual newbie problems, some funny, some not. After I went ice-skating, I couldn't turn off
> the ice-skating animation, so my avatar performed involuntary triple salchows and double axels everywhere he went for the next day
> or so. Perhaps not coincidentally, I was later propositioned by a gay avatar, behind whom, I discovered, was a 55-year-old father
> of four on the down low. But mostly I just walked through this world with my virtual mouth hanging open. It's staggering, really,
> to ponder all the work and creativity poured into SL by what are, actually, its consumers. This kind of mass volunteerism is the
> power behind what author Don Tapscott calls "wikinomics," collaboration on an astronomical scale, a la Wikipedia. My question is a
> simple one: Is Second Life the best use of collective genius when the material world is so unfinished?
> If you had the drive and the imagination—not to mention the absurd amount of free time—to create a business or design a product,
> why wouldn't you do it in real space? If you could find friends and brainstorm good ideas and fuel a love affair, why wouldn't you
> do it in the here and now? Come back from Second Life, people. First Life needs you.
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
More information about the extropy-chat