Throughout history we have seen technology transform the world through global nervous systems, connecting its citizens from the invention of the telegraph, which caused a dramatic shift in world-perception to Paul Baran ARPAnet concept in 1964, which later became known as the Internet. However as we assess the endless possibilities the Internet and cyberspace offer its users, has communication gone so far in that it is becoming extinct in the real world and surviving only through text in MMOGS (massively multiple online games)?
Personally, the idea of a living a virtual second life seems strange because I can not get over the fact that I would be putting most of my thoughts and free time into my Second Life and not connecting with reality. For some users this is the case. When the virtual reality does not only become their Second Life but their only life.
However, after writing the previous paragraph I came across an article by Henry Jenkins where he states that even though we travel to the digital world to escape reality we are engaging with symbolic representations, which we read in relation to reality. True.
Personally, I attach a stereotype to the user of Second Life whose ambition is to; yes again I repeat myself, escape reality. Thus, believing that Second Life is only used for evil not good. However Jenkins further goes on to state that there are many educational uses for second life. A particular inspiring case uses virtual reality to help those who suffer with autism and Asperger’s. It is said that Second Life enables the rehearsal of social skills and helps overcome anxieties of communicating in reality.
As I stated previously I would never trade my life of adventure and travel in substitution for one filled with MMOGs. However for some, escaping reality is their only option and there are multiple benefits which are the outcome. I’m confident in saying that at one stage in everyone’s life they have wanted to change something, it doesn’t have to be something big, even just a small aspect. This is what second life lets you do. And now I understand why this virtual reality has become so popular.
After reading Four Puzzles From Cyberspace, a short story, which particularly took my interest, was an argument between two Avatars in a virtual world. I’m not going to try and explain the whole story to you in intricate detail however I will give you my opinion…I began reading the story in real life. It wasn’t making much sense and the argument seemed extremely irrelevant, with comments made by the Avatars extremely absurd in there nature. The further you read, the more complex the argument became. For someone like me who is new to the idea of virtual reality and second life initially I could not comprehend the logic behind the argument, however this story has allowed me to somewhat grasp the vast the full extent of these virtual worlds and the technology that allows them to do this is phenomenal.
I guess one way to think of Second Life is that if there is a problem, in any aspect of their virtual life they can fix. If only this was true in the real world.
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