These are a series of items that I wrote back in 2009/10 in relation to my interest in Virtual Worlds and learning.
The Metaverse is our collective online shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. The word metaverseis a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” (meaning “beyond”) and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.
The term was coined in Neal Stephenson‘s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson coined the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the Internet. Concepts similar to the Metaverse have appeared under a variety of names in the cyberpunk genre of fiction as far back as 1981 in the novella True Names.
A friend said to me “we are the future”. What did she mean?
These Blogs are a mixture of reality and non-reality, they contain some serious thought and some idle thinking….! Its up to you to decide which is which.
I am currently (2009) teaching IT and Business Studies, in particular e-business. In addition I have an interest in the concept of a meta-verse and the growing possibility of a singularity as far as computer related development goes at least. Therefore, as part of my research (for teaching) into the subjects the two things are converging within my thinking.
The rate of change (the advance towards the singularity) is so fast now that almost anything we teach is instantly redundant. As an aside I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that we should not be teaching subjects but rather techniques first and subjects second. The most useful skill a young person can have today is to know how to harness the resources around us, not how many tins of baked beans Tesco sold last year.
As part of the research I was reminded that the Internet as we know it came into being only in 1990, and when you consider the way that it is firmly integrated into our lives it is a sobering thought.
If experts are to be believed, then give it another 5 years and the internet will be un-recognisable from how we know it today. However, more importantly, the way that we integrate technologies, our real and virtual lives will be the significant development. Many of the writers and commentators concerning the meta-verse agree that increasingly our lives real and virtual will merge, and that for many their meaningful and fulfilled existence as ‘humans’ will be in the virtual world.
At the time of writing very sophisticated examples of virtual life exist, and are growing in popularity rapidly. These virtual worlds are the next step up from the various social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo, however more importantly these various sites will as far as we are concerned become one. You will live your virtual existence out on your pc, your phone or some evolution of it, or X-Box and Playstation (well that’s what we know now).
Already many education establishments and business have a virtual presence, for example some universities conduct real time lectures in the virtual world students can be anywhere in the real world when attending. Live music performances take place and creative art experiences. Already there are virtual Millionaires (real people who are making lots of money from trading in a virtual world)
In the not too distant future you will be able to browse shops look at product and order it to be delivered to your Real world address. These shops will be true representations of their real world counterparts and in some cases replace them totally!
As an educator I am very interested in the idea of virtual learning spaces and am avidly monitoring the developments in technology and internet bandwidth.
Watch this space
A friend said to me “we are the future”. What did she mean?
The individuals, who are already involved in, are building and creating virtual worlds, spaces and environments may well be the future. We certainly have a head start, in the sense of being there first. As the virtual worlds and their growing links with real life become more common place in daily and business life, we may well be positioned to take advantage of it.
In the future you may have 2 or more legitimate identities which will enable you to move seamlessly between worlds, whilst some interactions and transactions will feed back into your real world and life. For example you may open a bank account in a virtual world but it is for your real life, in fact the account will cover your real and virtual lives.
All of your learning may well take place in a virtual context and certainly your experience of art and culture. Already you can see “live” performances of art and music in virtual worlds. Are these any less real than experiencing them in a real context. Well you do not have to travel, you do not have a noisy child or obnoxious person sitting next to you, the environment can be to your design not someone else’s and so on. “Ah”, you may say “it’s not real”, there in lies the argument. What is real and does it have to real to be meaningful and a real experience.
We live so much of our lives inside our heads with our own thoughts, desires and wishes. Surely all that matters is how you feel, are you happy, fulfilled, content, balanced, stable and a productive member of society.
A new question, “what is society today” in a real world context we are very much territorial, nationalistic and protective. In a virtual context there is no Nation everyone is part of the same thing. Races, creeds, sects, individuals and nations all mix as equals, those tensions do not exist.
Just Another Day
The day had started well; I was hoping it would end well. I arrived at my destination at about 7 o’clock. I was in the process of orientating my thoughts and a friend called, “Hi! Want to come over to my house”, “sure why not” I replied. A short while later I arrived.
As I entered the house I noticed some new pictures on the walls, “wow! They are fantastic” I said. “You have been busy, your house is looking like home now”. We chatted for a while, whilst watching the sun set over the distant horizon, this particular evening it was beautiful, just a few clouds and a deep orange glow to the sun. The day was getting better.
“How about we go shopping, then on to a club later” my friend said, “Cool! Yes I would like that, what do you need to buy”, “some trousers to match this top” my friend replies.
We arrive at the shop in no time at all. After some searching my friend see’s a dress she likes. “But, we are here for trousers, I declare”, “Hmmm, I like this dress, what do you think?” she asks. “I like the Grey version; I think it will suit you and its only 350.00”. Without hesitation she purchases the dress, “so much for trousers” I say, she giggles. When she tries it on it does look fantastic though, it fits perfectly. Still, clothes always do on her model like body.
“OK let’s go to the club, Amezzo! Ok for you”, “Yes, fine” I reply. The club is close by, and within seconds we are there. The DJ is playing really good house music, just what we need to relax at this moment in time. The club is amazing, large, well decorated and the music and light systems are top of the range. It is just starting to get busy, The DJ was from Austria, in fact there is a real multinational mix in the club, but you would not know that by just looking at the people there. It’s amazing how all types mix in these clubs, seems like they have no national or racial identities, everyone is sort of equal, the same in some way. It is so refreshing and must surely be the way of the future.
We dance and talk for ages, the music helping with our happy mood. After several hours we decide to spend some time on the beach just a short journey away, (although it could easily be a million miles away, such is the difference in the feel and environment.) There is a great beach bar and club at this spot and we often come here when we see each other. We finish the night together listening to more sedate chilling sounds and talk some more.
As we talk we realize that our friendship is really developing, and as we become closer we also realize how much we have in common. Time seems to fly by here in this beautiful place, and before we know it, it is time to head home for sleep. We hug and say our goodbyes, looking forward to another day, hoping it will be as nice as this one.
Did this happen?
Did It happen in real life?
Or in a virtual world?
Was it a dream?
Did I imagine it?
Did I just invent it and write a story?
Whichever it was is it any less real for the person experiencing it?
If it is real for them, is that all that matters?
Whichever it was, the memories are real and probably will never be forgotten. If they have enriched the persons life, is that all that should matter?
If an individual lives out their existence inside a virtual world is their life any less meaningful?
As time goes by I think the answer will be no, most certainly not. For many of the earth’s inhabitants it will be how they express themselves emotionally, artistically, culturally and personally.
31st Jan 2008-12-31
Let the celebrations for the coming New Year begin. For the residents of real life fixed in their locations around the world, we sit and wait for our time to come. The hours and minutes pass up to the point of Midnight (a point in time that our clocks tell us its midnight!)
A few individuals try to chase the New Year around the globe attempting to “see in the new year” in as many places as they can! In the UK this year we gain 1 second (or so we are told) because of the earths slowing spin we must add 1 second to our time. How can we do this? Unless, of course, time does not exist, and it is purely a construct to help give us order and meaning to our lives.
How can the New Year begin 12 hours earlier in one part of the world and not in another?
Which is the correct point in time?
Whose time is correct?
Obviously a debate that could take many books to try to resolve and in the end it is a philosophical argument, probably!
However, what about meta verses? In a virtual world time may be different. There is of course a passing of “time” as events happen. However because of the nature of the world it is possible to easily “see In” the New Year with fellow residents over a long period of time, the party Can go on for hours and hours (and they do). In this situation there appears to be no fixed time, other than a real world one imposed upon the virtual one. So, whilst we party for many hours the actual transition point does not exist! The “event” starts at one point and finishes at another and no one person can say “there, that was the New Year starting”
When you inhabit a virtual world time is almost irrelevant, you cannot say to your friends “hey! Look, it is 1 minute to midnight” because it is not for them. Ok you can invent an in world time but that is just applying Real world constructs to the virtual world.
I have in fact noticed that the inhabitants of virtual worlds are not preoccupied with time. They are there or they are not. In fact some activities happen quicker and time is compressed, or so it seems.
Read, “Just Another day” above!
Take some time! To think about time!
Interestingly the growth of virtual worlds slowed down and in some respects halted. However virtual experiences are evolving again with the design of ‘visors’. Online shopping has grown dramatically but using conventional interfaces. I notice that education is still uses very outdated methods and has yet to respond to calls for dramatic changes to how the curriculum is taught. Our societies are changing rapidly and education is not keeping up. We are approaching the age of robots and some predict that over the next few years 15 million jobs will be lost to robots.
… MORE TO COME