This book has stuck in the neurons, and now the virtual is becoming real. It really goes to show how hard science fiction depicts a future that current living humans will not see. Based on some work I was doing to Tricks of the Hypertalk Masters, creating what would be now known as a “skin” over CompuServe; the book was just science fiction.
True Names published in 1981, describes a world called “Other Plane” were people interact online. The premise of separating your online from your physical indentity; and the concept of a future Singularity pervade my personal world-view today.
Now, what does this have to do with today?
Watch the first half of this video: Jim-Cory-SecondLife.wmv, Lang.NET Symposium.
The first half of the video is light on technology; but heavy on the economics, and wider-world impacts of the virtual world. The user creation rate (Writeness in the Read/Write equation) is over 60%; compared to the web which is less than 10%.
A key reason seems to be the economic value attached to virtual objects scripted in Second Life. As items in the SecondLife virtual world are intellectual property; an item can be created, sold and purchased.
Ensuring that intellectual property is valued is going to be one of the toughest challenges for upcoming generations.
Is the scripting in Second Life the new HyperCard?