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December 01, 2008


Jo Grant

Thanks for the shout out about the AoT conference. I was one of the people working on the in-world infrastructure. You highlight a big value: that companies can save money by running virtual world conference much more cheaply than traditional ones. The other side of that coin, though, is that companies can DO much more by having MORE conferences than their budgets would otherwise permit.
I'm working on testing that out by using the skills and lessons learned from the AoT conference to run a completely employee driven, unfunded conference on the use of Virtual Worlds by IBMers in February. The idea is to give a forum to those of us who have already worked virtual worlds into our work and life to share and discuss their experiences. The subject, "Beyond Blogging", falls in the category of "serious" business. But if the ability to self-organize, build community and collaborate is really there, this sort of use of virtual worlds could be as revolutionary as blogging!

Tina Gleisner

Irving, I didn't find you on LinkedIn, but was finally able to find you at your original blog (because of you I started on Typepad, but have switched to WordPress). I'm getting ready to launch my 2nd business which will be virtual as in no employees, rather Virtual Assistants (VAs) scattered around the country, each bringing a unique skill that I need. If you're truly involved with MIT, would love to get together as I live in NH.

Mark Laff

Irving, I wanted to give you a pointer to another 3D virtual world project out of IBM (in conjunction with TryScience): The PowerUp game is an experiential educational context where middle-school students explore alternative energy technologies.

A free public download, PowerUp was IBM's contribution to National Engineers Week in February, and selected the Official Game of Earth Day 2008. (see http://www.powerupthegame.org or on video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z19GxBLofLM)

In addition, PowerUp contains several Accessibility Options developed in collaboration with the IBM Accessibility Research team at the TJ Watson Research Center, providing access to individuals who have difficulty either perceiving the rich visual world or maneuvering within the virtual world using the default mouse-plus-keyboard controls.

Here is one of our recent research papers describing our accessibility work on PowerUp:


I agree with the fact that the virtual meetings save money, time and allow anyone from anywhere around the world to meet up ,and that is a great innovation. But if you look at it from a communications perspective there is a long way to go in order for people to act online the way they would act in real. The Media Richness theory developed by Daft, R.L. & Lengel, R.H. in the 80's would argue that in those meetings, the communication means allow for less cues. In communication, cues are very important and the computer mediated communication does not (yet?) translate all the cues that those people meeting face to face would have. Imagine having to tell a colleague that you don't agree with him without wanting to hurt his feeling. Making him understand your feelings face to face would be way easier than online. But I guess this is just a question of getting used to communicating with different technologies. I express myself much more clearly in a text message that my grand-mother does.
As for the virtual visit of the museum, I like the idea but I don't think it could ever get as exciting to visit a forbidden place on line as it gets in real. I am skeptical on whether such an experience would feel real at all. I guess I need to try it now!
Thanks for the interesting post though ! I hope those types of meeting develop and become more fluent ( I have no doubt they will) and that I get to be a part of one.

Virtual world development

Virtual worlds still have a long way ahead of them. The technology required to make them usable is of such a substantial size that the gigantic amount of resources, man hours of coding needed to develop a platform. In order to be used by the end user and provide a decent experience towards people so they can make use out of it isn't just here yet. When you see what major companies like Intel, IBM and Microsoft do to help an open source platform such as Opensim of the ground it makes you wonder what they expect to get out of it. I see how these companies put 1 programmer on such a project while they have massive amounts of resources at their disposal to make this work. I really think there is a need for corporations to start taking virtual worlds in a more serious way and contribute to make things move forward.

Robert Pattinson Girlfriend

They (the geeky inventors) are now able to product a touchable hologram... just imagine its future and real applications... modern gaming and yeah, adult entertainment!

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