A group of UK based psychology researchers were interested in seeing how Second Life users reacted to invasions of personal space within the virtual world. So, they developed a way around the built-in limitations that Linden Lab put in place to prevent software-controlled avatars being deployed, enabling them to send an avatar on autopilot to interact with other residents and record their reactions.
To which your response might be "so what?" – especially if you’re skeptical about Second Life to start with, which is not an uncommon stance. But as the heads-up on SlashDot points out, what can be done by psychology researchers in the name of science could just as easily be done by spammers seeking a automated method of advertising in the metaverse … which would seem to reinforce the adage that no platform will ever remain completely immune to spam techniques. Still, at least in SL you can always teleport away from an annoying avatar, which is more than you can do when confronted by a Scientologist or insurance hawker in the high street … [Image by PsychoAl]