hi Christopher, I was curious and took a look at the blog you linked to, and the discussion seemed to be overwhelmingly AGAINST this hype - it didn't look like there were hardly any SL partisans there to stand up for their multiverse... although maybe that is because they were all too busy second life-ing to do something as retro as actually read something... ha!
For my two cents, I think that Stephenon's book SNOW CRASH is about a gazillion times more interesting than Second Life. So, my recommendation: read the book! Just as so many books are better than the movies they spawn, this book is very much better than its virtual imitation. You will never look at a pizza delivery guy in quite the same way... :-)
My strong feeling is that Second Life may not become so big as claimed by Philip Rosedale.
"Within ten years, virtual worlds will be bigger than the Web itself.
So says Philip Rosedale, the man who invented Second Life."
As Dosa Dagger (my avatar) I went through several sites. Instead of wasting of lot of money in projects like Second Life, I feel good educational portals need to be built up for the benefit of students, teachers & parents. The sites should have CMS like Moodle and content developed in screencast videos.
From technical point of view, Web technologies are yet to get evolved to reach a stage of streaming good quality video. Only exception so far is Joost. Youtube and videocasting sites are not that good.
In my view, video sites like "Joost" will pick up faster than virtual worlds like "Second Life".
I wonder if he meant to say "3D Virtual Environments" in general? ..... If the locally hosted options like OpenSim or Croquet (http://www.croquetconsortium.org/) catch on as the "Intranets" for organizational colaborative environments the locally hosted options could have a much greater impact than Secondlife (unless they open up the Secondlife grid server and it becomes a standard like Apache managed to do back in the day)... ala - http://rich.greenbush.us/index.php?entry=entry070728-192132
I'd be very surprised if Rosedale turned out to be right. That's almost as absurd as saying that World of Warcraft will be bigger than the internet. WOW has an order of magnitude more users at the moment as a head start, but it doesn't allow for user created content . . . so maybe it's a wash. I think they're both unlikely to be "bigger than the internet".
Part of the problem is that they're both proprietary. Web standards for markup and coding have always been set by the community at large (or those dedicated enough to contribute to that effort). Open source software continues to grow in many other areas. I can imagine that a WC3-type group might develop a set of standards for 3D environment programming the same way they do for Web programming -- and what we would see then is a development of a 3D web, not a proprietary product.
But a lot of things would have to go hand-in-hand with that. Using that 3d environment would have to become easier and more functional than using the flat web. SL and WOW take too long to learn how to move around, they are not intuitive enough, and controlling movements with a keyboard is too clumsy for to imagine that it's going to be something people will opt for instead of using the 2D web when they're trying to use the web.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm a huge fan of Snow Crash, of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson and the whole cyberpunk sci-fi thing. Love the books. But until 3D is easier for casual use than 2D is, I think Rosedale will remain disappointed.
I agree with you, Andrew. I hope SL doesn't take over the universe. I found it to be a huge waste of time and energy. It's all about the communication, not the acquiring of new outfits and property. As John pointed out, SL takes a long term to learn and is not intuitive enough for those who don't have a ton of time to devote to exploring it or making friends with those who can show us around.
Not to discount the value for those who have found SL to be an enriching experience...I just don't think it'll be as main stream as other elements of the web, like social networking.
As I posted in another discussion on SL, who need avatar kids who don't sit still when we've got real ones? who needs avatar kids who don't pay attention when we've got real ones? and who needs avatar teachers who don't pay attention in virtual staff development when we have real teachers who don't pay attention in real staff development?
And when are teachers going to have time to set up these virtual experiences?
Clearly, the virtual teachers will be setting up the virtual experiences while the real teachers are watching American Idol. ;)
The attraction, I think, comes in trying to use the technology to serve people who are not being served right now, not in trying to serve those who are already being served. So, to take your argument -- who needs virtual teachers when they have real ones? Perhaps no one, but there are people who don't have real teachers available to them, and being able to deliver a virtual teacher may be worth the effort -- better than nothing.
I still think the 2D experience will continue to be easier to use, and be more prevalent, than 3D models like SL, but I do think that there are enough people out there who are not being served as well as they could be by the real life models that are out there to give virtual models some room to try.