Whats that noise about Second Life?

My coblogger recently questioned the usefulness of Second Life. I have to agree that Second Life in its current state hardly is any fun and definitely not useful. Being a long time cyberpunk reader I like to see uses in the future that will revolutionize the Internet. It may not necessarily be Second Life that is the platform for this, new players are likely to emerge and new standards will make the thing global. To make this happen new user interaction devices need to be invented that are able to render a 3D world better than the screens we use today. A good thing with this will be that user interaction hopefully will engage the whole body - not just hands and eyes - this will bring health to computer users. Parts of the web will go three dimensional and parts will stay as they are. Second Life or something like it will be the platform for this with its virtual worlds functioning as a fundamentally different way of surfing the web. Several big companies like Sun and Reuters are using Second Life as part of their marketing scheme. I am pretty sure that this is overhyped now but in a distant future something like this will be the way to surf just like cyberpunk prophet William Gibson predicted 23 years ago in the excellent novel Neuromancer.

[Fun | Get a First Life | via Wikipedia]

Old comments

2007-02-17Hardy Ferentschik
I couldn't agree more with Fredrik - have a first life. I created my Second Life account two weeks ago and spend an initial 2 hours with it - since then I had no urge to go back. In contrast to many other opinions I've heard I DID NOT feel emerged in a new world at all.

I appreciate Second Life as a first step towards a new form of interaction. Innovation comes gradually and you have to take first steps. I for my part are happy to skip my participation in these early stages and wait in true cyberpunk manner for a new work a la Tad Wiliam's Otherland :-)
2007-03-18Hardy Ferentschik
There is an interesting article Inside Second Life's Data Centers at InformationWeek. It gives some insight on what makes Second Life tick.
2007-03-18Fredrik Rubensson
Interesting reading. Quite a challenge to get good performance with this kind of volumes. Interesting to read about Linden Scripting Language (LSL) that:

To improve performance, Linden Lab is porting LSL to Mono, the open source implementation of Microsoft.Net. In tests, the Mono implementation of LSL runs 1,000 times faster than Linden Lab's current version.

Hmmm - I would have been more happy with Ruby or Python or anything that is not a .Net implementation even if its open source. But then I have a religious aversion towards anything Microsoft. Still I think the scripting part of Second Life is the one cool thing that still makes me intrested in this virtual world.