Feb 22, 2009

Second Life - Escapism or KM Tool ? - Brief

Is Second Life just for fun, a joke or does it have educative/collaborative aspects & corporate business applications, compared with WOW – World of Warcraft? Can its simulation capabilities be exploited for training programs ? Is it an escapist’s fantasy, blurring reality and virtual worlds ? How does it compare with Pixar’s 2008 hit “Wall-E” – when Captain McCre is forced into reality? (More).

So where is Second Life travelling ? Is it also being hit by the global financial crunch?

Second Life is in reality a game predicated on a capitalist corporatist model – but then wasn’t Monopoly also a capitalist game? This cuts to the heart of the criticism – a single controlling corporate – considered to be a more pervasive situation. Unlike, say the Internet, where there are many corporates and creative commons. Quite a few companies set up in Second Life, some departing when it did not turn out to be the expected money spinner. This smacks of those who naively entered into the Internet world and got badly burnt. An internet presence needed more sophisticated approaches, than the sort of shopping catalogues shoved into your letterbox.

However Education applications reportedly are powering on.... It was a first year Nanotechnology student in 2007 who awakened me to the possibilities of Second Life for collaboration amongst the technology research community in areas such as Nanotech, Rockets & Astronomy eg with NASA and MIT (also used for student orientation). It almost seemed too incredible that a first year student from the University of Wollongong could be networking with these research scientists.

And yet I noted that the Life 2.0 conference on Dr Dobbs Island could only handle 40 virtual attendees (aka avatars) selected via a lottery (the others in their thousands listened through a special website). Forty attendees seems a “boutique” conference size to me.

More ....

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