We're on a Second Life kick this week, here at the Daily Galaxy. This new virtual world is making an impact at the Sundance Film Festival and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, merging the online and "realworld" like a collapsed event horizon. Major global corporations are buying real estate "islands" in this digital universe. Here's how Mitch Kapor, Chairman of Linden Labs, creators of Second Life, describes the potential of this new virtual world:
Second Life is a disruptive technology on the level of the personal computer or the Internet. Everything we can imagine and things that we can’t imagine from the real world will have their in-world counterparts, and it’s a wonderful thing because there are many fewer constraints in Second Life than in real life, and it is, potentially at least, extraordinarily empowering.
Our Cambridge staff found this profound response to Second Life on ZDNet Posted by 1stcyberian:
Yes, a fad like PDAs, cellphones, and myspace, eh? With every paradigm shift, come the nay-sayers...the dinosaurs stuck behind their blinders as to "how things are."
Marketing guru Faith Popcorn, way back in the early 90's, predicted this growing trend of 'cocooning', and Second Life aligns perfectly with that trend...
Why venture out to your local mall, braving gridlocked traffic, hostile crowds, and inept clerks when you can enjoy nearly the same visceral experience parked comfortably in front of your keyboard/monitor?
You want social interaction? Second Life has been engineered from the ground up to provide that.
Safe sex? It doesn't get any safer than when between two avatars.
Travel? You can terraform to your heart's content, and build anything from a mud hut to a majestic castle...You can build your 'castle in the sky' if that's your dream.
Ambitious? Open a bank, or a surf shop, or a discotheque...limited only by your imagination.
It is the purest form of art imitating life, distributed by technology, available to all.
A trend, a fad? I think not.
I think the only 'fad' now is those who think they sound wise by scoffing.
This emerging 3-D world is fast becoming a test bed for corporate marketers, including Reuters, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sun Microsystems, Nissan, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Starwood Hotels.
The sudden rush of real companies into so-called virtual worlds mirrors the evolution of the Internet itself, which moved beyond an academic and research network in the 1990’s to become a global and transformative economic force. Second Life has about 350,000 regular visitors, people who come back after a month, while 2.6 million made a one-time visit. But the moment that the haptic interface works in Second Life, it is going to explode. Kapor says this haptic interface — that is, the ability to feel something virtual in the real world — is months away.