Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Second Life Possibilities

After reading the informational packet on Second Life the thing that struck me most was the idea of rules in this world. Not only is it interesting to identify the arbitrary limiting of physical spaces, (like height, dimensions of a prim, etc.) but it also brings up the question “who invented these rules, and why are people not opposed to ‘living’ with them?” In a virtual world where everything is seemingly possible, all physical and conceptual elements still work within limits except for resources. Drew brought up a really important question in class which was “how can there be any economic system in a realm where there is no fixed quantity of resources?” Not only are there no limits to prims, but presumably, mass production of any object, costs neither time nor money. Under this system, “value” no longer pertains to supply and demand of resources but rather of ideas. In other words, the Second Life market is dealing with entirely intellectual property. It seems that every law of economics fit to determine worth is obliterated, and we must study behavior within this world which is surely creating a new “pop culture” based on virtual aesthetics and desires to determine what is popular and in demand. Yet again, this topic comes back to rules: In the “real” world, many argue magazines, movies, etc. set the standards of deciding what is hip. In Second Life, who has power? Will a whole social hierarchy ensue, and if so, what will the strata be based on? An optimist would say that such a limitless, creatively inspiring world will establish a kind of prestige that is not so superficially based on material wealth and good looks, but instead on the weight of ideas (where introverted computer geeks will finally reign strong!)

1 comment:

ahmed omar said...

I’m glad you wrote this blog because I have been pondering about similar issues with SL that you talked about. I mentioned some of these core issues in my blog entry too.. SL seems to be stuck in a grey area.. somewhere between trying to create a very real experience but not really wanting to at the same time....specially with regard to economics! I believe the MUD environment if you’ve been on one, creates a much more powerful virtual experience as well as leaving a lot of room for imagination and creativity.