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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Second Life After Death?

Did you know that certain science minded forward thinkers confidently predict that within 20 years time human beings will be able to download the contents of their brain (possibly even their consciousness itself!) onto a computer?
Given the amazing prediction that a kind of 'techno' life after death may be possible, a vitally fundamental future purpose for virtual realities such as Second Life becomes apparent. Imagine if, after you have passed away, the contents of your brain were to be downloaded onto a server and attatched to a pre-prepared avatar in a virtual world. The avatar would look like you in every way (imagine what computer graphics will be like in 20 to 30 years!) and would, to all intents and purposes, be you. You would have life after death (assuming atheists are right). Living relatives could log into the virtual world and pay you a visit, or perhaps we would reach a stage were living people would chose to live in the virtual world instead of the real one.
Many scientists and technologists are speaking about a coming 'singularity' where technology and nature will become one and the same, with huge advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology. People around the world are spending longer and longer amounts of time at their PC's, and many in online virtual realities... is it too much of a stretch of the imagination to think that we may eventually become one with the online world we play in as the nature of reality changes? And as computers themselves attain a state of self awareness will they allow us to have our second life after death? Or will they simply format the disk?

Avatars Anonymous

Worried you might be spending too much time exploring the metaverse? Then read this article on the myths and realities of online computer game addiction, featuring SL resident Misty Rose. Taken from ABC News.

Video games and the Internet have been subject to suspicion since the computer became a household fixture. One complaint: People get sucked into spending enormous amounts of time on the computer, to the detriment of other parts of their life. But are they addicted?

The answer depends on what you mean by "addicted." Most experts say computers are not addictive in the same sense that drugs are, but they could be on the same level as gambling.

"When I started out particularly in Internet addiction back in 1995, I thought that this could potentially be a major problem," said professor Mark Griffiths, who studies behavioral addictions at Nottingham Trent University in Nottingham, England. "In no way has the hype lived up to what has actually been found in research."

Donna Meyer doesn't think she's addicted, even if spends up to 12 hours a day in Second Life, a gamelike world on the Internet. The 49-year-old grandmother in New York shares a virtual home with a partner who lives in New Mexico.

"My daughter gets annoyed," Meyer said. "She's like, 'My God, Ma, you used to go out, now you're always on the computer."' Meyer is unapologetic: "I'm unemployed, don't really have the money to go out anymore, so I enjoy this," she said. "It's a way of still meeting people."

Griffiths believes there's a large difference between people who use the Internet excessively and those who have problems with it, and even those who have problems may not be addicted. To count as a real addiction in Griffiths' view, it has to be destructive, cause withdrawal symptoms and prompt ever greater use to maintain the kick.

"When you apply those criteria to something like Internet use or video game use, you find that yeah, lots of people display some of those components, but very few display all of them, and in that sense, to me, they are not classically addicted," Griffiths said.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ronin's Retreat

Some of the scenery in SL is absolutely heavenly, like this picture taken of the tranquil Samurai village of Tanjumura, home of the Kodaimata Clan.

When World's Collide

Still suffering from a Valentine hangover here's a lovely story of two SL residents falling in love and then getting married in RL, taken from CNET.

For Edwards, a 36-year-old game designer in Harrogate, England, and his wife, Alayne Wartell, "Second Life" provided a forum where the two, then living across the Atlantic Ocean from each other, could discover a wide range of mutual interests.

They met in the game, Edwards said, because they owned adjacent land, and they began to trek to each other's properties to see what the other was working on.

One of the things Edwards built in his house, he explained, was a floating brain in a jar--along with tinted windows and a swimming pool that appeared in the floor. "Alayne just came over (sometimes) on the pretense of saying hello to my...brain in the jar," Edward said. "We always say we fell in love over my brains."

Soon, the couple began to court. They borrowed some friends' private resort -- a digital property in "Second Life" -- and spent a virtual romantic evening together. Romance amid the sunken galleons. "We took a date wandering around their lovely gardens and had nice walks through the wooded areas," he said. "There were sunken galleons, and they'd even set out virtual food for us: a candlelit dinner on the veranda."

Edwards visited Wartell at her home in Philadelphia, and before long, the two decided to marry. Wartell, now 41, agreed to move to England.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lag Is For Lovers

'Lag Is For Lovers' was one of the heartshaped messages the Second Life sun radiated on this Valentines day, a special tribute to all us romantics. Not sure I agree completely with the message... but hey, it's the thought that counts.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Threaded

Threaded Alternative Clothing is the name of my new shop that you can find at Monti (176, 240, 136) specialising in T-Shirts and shorts. Also suppliers of Tiki Heads, perfect for your home, garden or Exotic bar.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Taxi Driver

Today I decided to visit Cubey Terra Aircraft at Abbot's Aerodrome (44, 203, 61) to have a look around and maybe take some free test flights, when I saw they had a taxi for sale. Priced at only L$200 I thought it was an absolute bargain and a simple business opportunity not to be missed. Okay, It was an impulse buy but the possibilities of making money with this great little yellow hover taxi are many. For instance you could offer a sightseeing service, or a way for new residents to get to where they want to be and the taxi can even be copied so you could even build a fleet of them and employ other people. Now yes, why would a person pay to get to somewhere when they can just as easily teleport for free (and instantly), well that's the big question. But as I said, perhaps people will enjoy a nice relaxing trip from A to B with all the scenery on the way. I'm sure there'll be other ways it could be utilized and I look forward to discovering them. A taxi business? Hmmmm....