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February 12, 2007


Matt Bowman

Hi Irving,
Thanks for the insight. It's pretty clear to me that Second Life is the prototype for the Matrix (sans AI). It just needs a more intuitive interface, better graphics and a lot more computing power, and then virtual worlds will be able to become the next phase of interconnectivity.

I also wanted to let you know that there is another reader response to this post on AlwaysOn: http://alwayson.goingon.com/permalink/post/9621.


If you're interested in SL and visualization, then have a look at the video shown in this blogpost: http://blog.rebang.com/?p=1204


For whatever it's worth, as a product designer I've been very interested in using online spaces for what I consider relatively mundane but still practical purposes. One entry that falls into this category includes an image of my avatar amongst the pieces of an object first ripped from a videostream which included 3D data, then taken into a manufacturing application, and then transferred into Second Life. Here's the relevant entry: http://blog.rebang.com/?p=403

For someone *not* running in supercomputing circles, this sort of immersion is extraordinarily compelling. Not just because it can be done, but because it can be done with an audience consisting largely of people for whom a design is intended.


I think Virtual Worlds are to this era what AI was back in the 60s (although admittedly to a lesser extent).

Sure, some benefits will be seen, but there's much more hype built around it than value. Value will be realized, but only much further in the future. Some benefits have occurred with AI, but not nearly the amount that was predicted 10, 20, or 30 years ago. The capabilities for virtual worlds just aren't there, and won't be for some time. The internet infrastructure is not where it needs to be, and doesn't seem to be getting much better. Vision systems and 3D modeling from pictures has made limited progress, but won't be practical, let alone useful for a while. Second Life statistics (http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy-graphs.php) don't even come close to the 3rd most populated MMOG (http://www.mmogchart.com/Chart1.html), let alone the top. If Second Life was so incredibly successful, you'd find other companies trying to replicate what they're doing. However, there are tons more people developing MMOGs than virtual worlds. Visualization techniques in Second Life pale in comparison to CAD equivalents, and I don't see Second Life catching up anytime soon.

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