The disturbing popularity of SL
One more roundup post. Several students reacted to the SL phenomenon with a mixture of curiosity, discomfort and unbridled fear. As Bill Clinton was wont to say, “I feel your pain.” The fast growth should be troubling if for no other reason than the fact that the environment fostering that growth is entirely synthetic. When we choose that much artifice over the real, we really should contemplate the choice we’re making.
As Rob shared, it just creeps him out. Why? I think this question underlines all our other questions about SL’s explosive growth.
Clay postulated that SL is in some ways the next step from MySpace toward a Matrix-like simulated reality.
As we discussed in class, SL has its first millionaire, and these are real U.S. dollars, the kind with which you can buy houses, boats and cars. Bling. What does it mean when someone can become a real estate tycoon in virtual world and parlay that into tycoon status in the real world? I honestly don’t know, but I think it begins to suggest a question as old as Tibetan monks: What does it mean to be human?
From CNN: “Anshe Chung, a real-estate tycoon in the digitally simulated world known as Second Life, has apparently become the first virtual millionaire–i.e., someone whose holdings in a make-believe world are legally convertible into genuine U.S. currency worth more than $1 million.”
Chung’s announcement of having reached the $1 million mark. She is a German citizen born in China.