Saturday, 23 February 2008

Virtual Worlds and Your Real world Credit card

I was watching the BBC breakfast today on the emergence of a new (a bit old in the world ) web sites that promotes the phenomenon of virtual world. It’s really quite interesting to see the evolution of the web (forgetting the features of web 6.0 which we saw in my last blog); apart from serving our real world needs, web has now provisions to offer you an option of living out your fantasies in a virtual world. Though the virtual world hasn’t been pushed to the extremes of Isaac Asimov kind of fantasy realms-the current novel (The end of eternity) that i am reading talks about century 2458 -, it has emerged something to be noticed (other wise why should we care about it ;-)).
Virtual worlds are nothing new to the real world dwellers and it has taken different from being painted on the walls of the caves by homo habilis to what was captured on the papyrus by egyptians and to the various epics by various civilizations. Now a days virtual world has become synonymous with the sites like, and the likes of forrester's and gartner's have started talking about it.

So what prompts one to have a virtual world forgetting the current reality? We often get bored of the “now” as it is too daunting to carry on (esp when it doesnt go on the way you would want it to!). The illusionary world, esp if you can maintain your anonymity to others , becomes a let down for your thoughts which you wouldnt do normally - we do when we pass those 3 pints-.
It gives you a sense of control over your destiny and gives an easy option to pull out if you dont want (In the real world, can you bunk that Valentine's dinner that you promised to your wife/girlfriend, the very thought it self is scary).

It has always been a pleasure to be digging around the history to understand what has happened (at least it helps those dull historians and sci-fi authors to survive) and to ponder about what will happen in the future. The very thought of skipping away from the tortorous , face-slapping reality itself is a sigh of relief for many of us.

There are myriads of reasons which makes us frustrated in our day to day transactions and the virtual world entrepreneurs tap (or try to tap) our psychic need for attaining what we want to do and what we want to be. So instead of day dreaming about us becoming Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, we can create avatars of similar nature on our own and we can become one.

These virtual worlds seems to be an extension of what is there in those Xbox and ps-x games and with a complex interaction of multiple players, the role that you choose and way you get to interact with the real psyche of somebody in Montenegro and Fiji Islands makes life more interesting, esp those who live in the cities with a very minimal realistic human interaction in the fast paced world.

But its not only for burning out your free time, some practical usefulness of these could be in the areas of simulation aided with the adaptive learning based on artificial intelligence of virtual avatars where one could learn how to behave in a new social/economical/political conditions and understand what life was before some 200 years back(I want to be a part of Richard Feynmann's lectures) and who knows, if it is pushed to some extreme we could be a part of a movie and interact with its character in the virtual world site instead of just watching those heroes and heroines running around the trees trying to get away from heroines dad and uncle who wants to marry her.
Watch out for that virtual world where you can search , blog, mail, map etc and from google where there could be mood sensitive adverts (how about an ad for after being kicked out another cute girl avatar? Eric?)

But are these sites not trying to make you move away from the practical realities of life similar to what TV has been doing to us for a long-time with its melodramatic antiquities? May be yes or may be no, but hey, all is not well and if you want to have a good life in the virtual world, you need to shell out some good amount of dough from your real world credit card and beware, you cannot tell your wife and bank that you will repay using your avatar who is too wealthy out the business that you have launched ( I heard banks are preparing to send hooligan avatars to collect what you owe?) .

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