Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Singularity 1 on 1: Quantum Thief Trilogy

Stanford Laptop Orchestra (1hr 30min)

The Nature of Categories and Concepts (1hr 30min)

Enhancing Virtues: Caring (part 2)

On Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”

Cyberwarfare ethics, or how Facebook could accidentally make its engineers into targets


ieet books

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Author
by Nick Bostrom


comments

Rick Searle on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

instamatic on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

instamatic on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

instamatic on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'How our police became Storm-troopers' (Aug 31, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Enhancing Virtues: Self-Control and Mindfulness
Aug 19, 2014
(7959) Hits
(0) Comments

Is using nano silver to treat Ebola misguided?
Aug 16, 2014
(6815) Hits
(0) Comments

“Lucy”: A Movie Review
Aug 18, 2014
(5852) Hits
(0) Comments

High Tech Jainism
Aug 10, 2014
(5343) Hits
(5) Comments



IEET > Rights > Life > Vision > Futurism > Directors > Giulio Prisco

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2815) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Snow Crash(ed) in Second Life (end 2012)


Giulio Prisco
Giulio Prisco
telexlr8.net

Posted: Dec 24, 2012

I fell totally in love with Second Life one minute after joining in 2005. A few weeks later I left a very boring but very well paid senior management post in the public sector to became a technology entrepreneur.

terasem_avatars_secondlifeI thought Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash vision of a highly immersive consumer virtual reality Metaverse would soon become a reality, and I wanted to be part of it.

As we all know, Snow Crash crashed in only a few years. In August 2007, as CEO of a Second Life development company in Spain with some high profile clients, I was interviewed by the national TV to comment on why companies were wasting millions on desert corporate VR spaces without visitors. The “desert Second Life” meme, started by an article on Wired, propagated very fast, and Second Life started to fade out.

These days I have the impression that Second Life (SL) is a dead alien world populated by the ghosts of a few former inhabitants who refuse to go. A couple of weeks ago I helped to organize a very good SL conference with many good speakers and interesting talks… and less than 10 people came.

Looking back, I see several reasons for the demise of SL:

1. The interface is far, far too difficult for today’s casual users who think that the Internet is that little box with lights that flicker when you are on Facebook. Many users, including many who use the Internet daily for work, do not know how to copy and paste, or the difference between left and right click. Add to this a terminal attention deficit, and you see how the Second Life interface is too difficult for mass adoption. Today, you need to design one-click user interfaces, because two clicks is too many.

2. Related to 1, SL is too heavy for most user computers. Those with powerful gaming systems and modern graphic cards never realize it, but Second Life is just not usable on low-performance computers, including new computers of users who don’t know how to switch off resource-hungry antivirus software, firewalls, background tasks and all the useless crap installed by manufacturers.

3. A 3D interface that imitates reality can be a great and intuitive user interface (if you see a door, you should go through, if you see a chair, you should sit down, etc.), but 3D on a flat 2D screen is not really 3D, and may make things difficult for the user, especially when combined with 1 and 2.

4. Many early users of SL were very jealous and protective of the early SL culture, strongly centered on pseudonymity and non-disclosure of real life information, and vocally resisted all technical innovations that could facilitate the intrusion of reality into their “magic circle” (see for example the very heated debates that followed the introduction of voice in SL in 2007). Most of them were “immersionists,” mainly interested in SL as “another world” where they could live “another life” entirely separated from their “first life” (FL) and strongly resisted the “invasion” of “augmentationists” interested in SL as a communication tool for telepresence applications related to FL. I think the tension between these two communities played a significant role in the demise of SL. Henrik Bennetsen’s essay on the subject is not available anymore at its original URL but a backup is still on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

5. In my (and many others’) opinion Linden Lab, the company behind SL, made one disastrous decision after another, alienating existing users without attracting new users. For example, first they alienated immersionists by promoting SL as a platform for business and education, then they changed their mind, then they changed their mind again, then they changed their mind some more times until everyone stopped caring.

I wonder whether SL and other immersive virtual worlds still have a future, and whether Stephenson’s Metaverse can still become a reality.

I am interested in online communication tools, and I have no interest in an building an alternative life in another world. My ideal avatar is a simple geometrical primitive with realtime webcam video streaming on a face (like the default avatars in OpenQwaq). This is easy to do in SL since version 2 of the viewer, and it is easy to set up videoconferencing in SL with free video streaming services, but these things don’t seem too interesting for the remaining SL users. Perhaps they will catch on in the future in SL or (more likely) in next generation platforms.

There are, in fact, interesting next generation Metaverse platforms that run natively in modern browsers without requiring a dedicated viewer or plugin. See for example Cloud Party, or the awesome Virtual World Framework demos. These systems seem much lighter and easier to use than SL, and (hopefully) able to address points 1 and 2 above. Concerning point 3, consumer VR glasses like Vuzix Wrap, Oculus Rift and future version of Google Glasses will permit real 3D interfaces to 3D scenes, and may wake up the sleeping Metaverse. In summary, I am cautiously hopeful in a Metaverse renaissance.


Giulio Prisco is a physicist and computer scientist, and former senior manager in the European space administration. Giulio works as a consultant and contributes to several science and technology magazines. In 2002-2008 he served on the Board of Directors of Humanity Plus, of which he was Executive Director, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Italian Transhumanist Association. He is often in Hungary, Italy and Spain. You can find more about Giulio at his Turing Church, RSS feed and skefi'a science/fiction, RSS feed.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (2816) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: #7 Brain Damage - 83 ways to stupefy intelligence

Previous entry: When will we finally have a world government?

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
Williams 119, Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford CT 06106 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376