Reflections on Virtual Worlds

bdesSeveral years ago I was a beta tester for a brand new, computerized, “city building” game. I was also learning how to engage in on-line forums and on-line reference services such as Wikipedia.

While my primary focus at that time was modeling for the purpose of expanding technological humanitarian growth, I learned new technologies and applications, and, expanded my focus from “real” to include “virtual” realities.

In the area of the tangible, we have Arts, Engineering, and Sciences. In the area of the intangible, we have Economics, Community, and Spirituality.

One model of the growth of any one human is that there are four personalized eras lasting about 20-30 years apiece: Exploration, Achievement, Wisdom, and Transcendence (EAWT). Another model distinguishes four domains of growth including Society: Individual and Collective, crossed with Internal and External. In this model, EAWT would be Individual/Internal. All models are lies; some are useful.

The current best platforms for online 3-D virtual worlds are Second Life and Open Simulator. There is a 50:50 chance that new platform technologies will compete with or supplant them in the next 10 or so years. There is an advantage to learn and engage, now, with either or both of these platforms.  Motivations include personal interest, education, learning, entertainment, commercial, other.

New technologies complement contemporary technologies and rarely eliminate them. The Cloud-Based Office has not replaced, for example, the Paper-Based Office. Nobel Science Prizes have not replaced, for example, Dalai Lama Publications.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


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