From the time that Alok first mentioned it to me; to reading his post; to the time that someone sent me a link showcasing a virtual demo on it; to the time that I finally logged on to test it out myself, Second Life has compelled me to think more and more about the future.
Second Life is quite surreal – a virtual world where you choose who you are, meet real people (behind their chosen avataars), test out real products (in a virtual environment), spend real money to buy virtual money that allows you to buy not just virtual land and virtual stuff but lets you conduct real business and also convert the virtual money, you may have earned, into REAL money. Fascinating but also a bit scary.
I signed up, but haven’t ventured in, yet. There are reasons – let me share:
I think of Second Life as Sims meets the Terminator series- vision of a future that is dominated by techonology so much that there are two classes of people – one who understand technology (rulers) and others who don’t (slaves) :). Second Life makes it very real. Growing the way it is, the day may not be far that to succeed in business you have to be on it? A marketing device that you cannot do without! I don’t know.
1. People who do are not comfortable with technology have a distinct disadvantage (but then, like someone said just now, that’s true even today :) ).
2. The economy of the future will be controlled by a ‘company’? How powerful will that company become.
3. I have been reading about ‘game-like elicitation methods’ of research (which I am quite fascinated with) – you think you are playing a game but your mind is being mapped; movement patters sharing with the researching party who you are, what you may buy. Doing so with virtual money on Second Life gives the company much more power to read the mind, spending habits, so much other data – all the time that one is on it. Wow – how may it be used?
4. Even as we are beginning to wonder about work-life balance as we find it difficult to cope with demands and rigours of our present day life. It doesn’t seem to likely to get any easier and then another life that demands more time and attention (which it will get because it promises to earn us more money).
I am not sure about what else, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the implications and am still coming to terms with it – though I must confess it is the most powerful one that I have come across lately.
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