I'm a rabid fan of Red Dwarf
. I was first introduced to this cult hit, not by the television series, but by the two books by Grant Naylor
, Red Dwarf
and its sequel Better Than Life
. As Wikipedia
explains, "BTL is the name of a virtual reality game engineered to pander to the player's most intimate fantasies. ... The danger of the game is that once the user starts to play, the game actually makes them forget they actually started to play, so they believe that they are still in reality."
Ok, now let's talk about Second Life
In many ways, SL is BTL. Wander the streets of that virtual world and you will indeed find people who have created a very full alternate reality for themselves. The implications of that fact is far beyond the scope of my expertise, but in the short time I've been inworld, I have encountered people who cannot walk in RL but can fly in SL and thus are made more free, people who have never left their country of origin but now travel the virtual world daily, people who have dreams and fantasies they could never carry out in RL but can do so without material consequence in SL. There is avarice and evil and intrigue to be found in SL - just as it is in RL - but there is also much that is noble and good and genuine and beautiful there as well - also as it is in RL. Is SL and its equivalents a passing fancy? I think not. I have seen the future, and it is virtual.
While preparing for some upcoming work in SL, I soon came across Chuck Hamilton, an IBMer who has been at the center of gravity of much of IBMs presence inworld. I was stunned to learn from Chuck that, late last year, there were only 325 IBM residents of SL but today there are now over 4,000. Today also IBM owns 22 islands in SL, and there are 36 more on order. For IBM, SL is big business, and a purposeful one at that. Chuck - inworld as Longg Weeks and I as Alem Theas - recently gave me a tour of these virtual IBM facilities, and pointed out that they are not just for fun, but have been used for a number of relevant business activities. Chuck highlights some of this work at MeetingsNet
and Fast Company
. This effort is very much on Sam's agenda, as noted in this report
detailing IBM's investment in virtual worlds.
Want to learn more about IBM's work inworld? Read this
, and this
. But, don't miss this
, and this
But wait, there's more. Check out here
, and here
. Whew. And you thought IBM was all about pocket protectors and ties.
Quote of the day:Rimmer: "Do you think it's because the sub-space conduits have locked with the transponder calibrations and caused a major tachyon surge that has overloaded the time matrix?"Kryten: "Ah, no, sir. I've just been jabbing it too hard."