While not as dissenting as some, I remain highly skeptical about High Fidelity, Oculus gRift etc. Is the benchmark for progress mass adoption? Sure it is for $erial entrepreneurs like PR, but when was the last time the mainstream did anything but water down or outright reject anything even vaguely interesting about culture and accept, even laud the vapid soul crushing superficial one size fits all pap poisoning the watering hole all over the world?
Despite the hype it may be that High Fidelity and Oculus gRift are non-starters except for the most enthusiastic early adopters. Could it be that the VR, VW etc. community is simply so ravenous for forward motion that they will accept placing some huge piece of plastic on your face as new and original or a virtual world based on haptic feedback (sure to be a hit with cyber sexers and perhaps a few sculptors unable to cope with 3D modeling) as a leap forward?
None of these goofy technologies solves the basic failures of Second Life such as the complete lack of understanding about what actually happened in the first and still most well populated virtual world. As the corporate kiddies managing Second Life got younger, less experienced and insightful about life (art or anything), their condescension towards even SLs most influential citizenry increased. The tendency being to treat anyone who would spend time in a virtual world to be a foolish crybaby, desperate for attention, instead of the well educated and optimistic pioneers of a deep sociological emergence that they were/are. LL simply didn’t have the faculties (or education, or desire) to understand what actually happened in SL and assumed that the sad bunnies were actually all that existed.
And then there’s the concept of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and ghettoizing the present citizens of Second Life by simply leapfrogging to a new backwards incompatible format. This is far from productive, progressive or polite, to leave behind your best and brightest from a sociological and cultural point of view. Sure, this is typical of technology but when technology is a substrate for a thriving polity, should it be?
With the ability to create life in the laboratory comes the added responsibility to treat this new life with respect due all living creatures. With the ability to create whole cultures should come a set of principles of equal or even greater weight, but hey, don’t look at me for that laundry list!
So I will see you all there on Thursday, even if I will be wearing my “Skepticus gRift” helmet.