Last week I appeared “live” in the virtual world of Second Life to promote my new book. (Have I mentioned it?) My avatar (a character that looks like me) answered questions in a theater packed with other avatars. Then I let them come on stage and kick my in the ‘nads.
The scene was captured by a viewer and posted on youtube. Now you too can enjoy watching me get pummeled.
About 60% into the video, an avatar that looks like Dilbert appears and attacks me. It was art imitating life, imitating art beating the crap out of something imitating me. Truly weird. If you know any Dilbert readers, they might enjoy this link:
There is also a Dogbert in the video, but when he is in kicking mode, he grows giant frog legs so it’s not so obvious it’s him in this particular clip. And there is a chat going on that you can't see, so it's quite a party on stage. In the end, I dance with Dilbert.
Second Life is already nerdily delicious, but as computing power increases, and the images become increasingly photorealistic, it’s hard to imagine wanting to travel in real life to have a meeting. You might want to meet people once just to be sure they exist. But after that, the avatar would do.
And with a bit more programming, those avatars can have the illusion of being sentient. They could interact online without your guidance and learn things and make friends. They might even be programmed to believe they have free will. I give it ten years.
In Second Life, they have a currency called Linden dollars. You can earn them and trade them for real money. In theory, someday you could program a little Donald Trump avatar and have him go earn money for you in the virtual world and wire it to you in the real world.
My theory, as regular readers know, is that you and I are already avatars in someone else’s virtual world. Whenever we think we are losing money, say by gambling or investing or paying taxes, we are really just wiring money to our overlords.
Special thanks to Aimee Weber for creating my avatar and managing the Second Life event. Her whole team was great.
AIMEE WEBER STUDIO
And thanks to Second Life embedded journalist W. James Au (www.Nwn.blogs.com) for hooking me up with Aimee’s studio and making the whole thing happen.