Merging with your avatar

Tom James @ 20-07-2009

avatarAn interesting discussion from Thomas Frey at the DaVinci Institute on at which point our individual identity merges with that of our avatars:

With each generation of avatar, they will become more life-like, growing in realism, pressing the limits of autonomy as we become more and more reliant on them for experiencing the world. The avatar will become an extension of ourselves. The pain that we feel is the same pain that they feel, and vice versa. Like symbiotic twins separated only by a dimension or two, we are destined to become one with our avatars.

Karl Schroeder explores a similar notion of avatars becoming extensions of ourselves in Lady of Mazes.

[via FutureBlogger][image from TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³]


Idoru! Augmented reality pet-person on sale later this year

Paul Raven @ 08-06-2009

Just in case you didn’t catch it over at Chairman Bruce’s pad, here’s the promo video for Cyber Figure Alice, an augmented reality game/pet/miniature girlfriend from Geisha Tokyo Entertainment Inc.:

Try to ignore the fact that the main selling point of this virtual girl appears to be that you can dress her up in a variety of outfits, look up her skirt and make her life a misery, and think of the somewhat more positive potentials of the same technology…

  • The Lonely Planet people could sell AR add-ons or replacements for their ubiquitous guidebooks; instead of be-backpacked Europeans stood around in the zocalo staring into a book, you might see them wandering around wearing funny sunglasses and staring into the palm of their hand, asking questions about the cheapest hostel within staggering distance of the bar district.
  • Home-schooled Christian kids could have a little desktop Moses to deliver moral guidance and lectures on why this or that particular website contains information that is not in accordance with Scripture.
  • The DVD extras on the latest Kamigata Punx! tour promo video could include miniature members of the band who could be bought virtual drinks in exchange for squeaky-toned tales of backstage debauchery.

That said, it’s probably fair (if a little depressing) to expect that the original guilt-free tormentable schoolgirl version will be the killer app for some time. Cyber Figure Alice apparently launches later this year, so expect the over-moneyed single geeks in your social circle to spend even more time at home than they do currently…


Recession-proof industries: gold-farming

Paul Raven @ 04-02-2009

World of Warcraft gold vaultWhile meatspace endures lay-offs and plummeting valuations, it seems that there’s still plenty of life left in the virtual currencies business – an MMO gold-farming site has just been snapped up for US$10 million. [image by fernashes]

Gold-farming is an interesting business phenomenon for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it deals in completely intangible goods. But it’s also out on the edge of legality when you consider the exploitative methods used to accrue the gold and items that are traded, and for most MMOs it’s against the rules to trade in in-world items beyond the game’s confines.

But it’s even more interesting to see the gold-farming market riding high while the real-world markets are tumbling, because it implies the two systems are connected but separate. Perhaps in the near-future people will be able to ride out the rough times by shifting their work into the virtual domains?

If we have any economists in the audience, I’d really welcome your input on this story; the interaction between real and virtual economies is as fascinating as it is baffling to me.


Virtual in Vermont – software corporations get the green light

Paul Raven @ 11-11-2008

abandoned laptop in coffee shopVia Charlie Stross, who isn’t entirely over the moon to see a trope from one of his novels coming true, we hear that the state of Vermont has passed a bill allowing the creation of limited liability corporations that are almost entirely virtual:

… up until now, U.S. law required LLCs to have physical headquarters, in-person board meetings and other regulations that have little relevance in the digital age.

No longer. Under the new law, for example, a board meeting may be conducted “in person or through the use of [an] electronic or telecommunications medium.” A ‘virtual company’ will be, as a legal matter, a Vermont limited liability company,” said Johnson. And other states are required to recognize the corporation as a legitimate LLC.

Interesting news. Hell knows that with the economic downturn, it’ll be a much more sensible idea to operate from coffee shops and build your swanky futuristic-looking headquarters in Second Life… even though the rent there isn’t as stable as its residents would like. [image by Zesmerelda]


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