Snowcrashing Into The Diamond Age 2 (Part Two): An Essay By Extropia DaSilva

This holds true for any material good. Each and every item that ends up in the shops is an end result of a great many tasks that need to be done in order to get that product into our homes. A machine capable of producing anything you want would need to be a self-contained system that can make anything the world economy makes. To do that it would have to pack in the entire logic and process structures that collectively make up the expert knowledge of all workers and managers who currently toil away in the many corporations that make up the global economy. As Burkhead cautioned, ‘all those jobs still have to be done because if you scale the economy down to the nano-level, it’s still an economy’.

But, didn’t we discover that all that work would be necessary only in developing the first mature nanosystem? Not really, no. Once completed, it would contain the instruction set for manufacturing another nanofactory nearly identical to itself, but that is all it (and its twin) would be capable of producing. Similarly, you can expect any individual item in SL’s stores to copy  into your inventory, but that one item can only duplicate itself. True, the store that sold it represents a system capable of turning prims into many products, and is itself one business amongst many that make up Sl’s economy, which is capable of turning prims into almost anything you want. But the many, many people who run that economy are seemingly unwilling to work for free.  Why should their attitude change if, instead of building prims into useful product, they are instructing molecular mills and manipulators to organise molecules and nanoblocks into useful product?

Then again, participation in SL requires Internet access and a supply of electricity. It requires constant maintainance of the servers that run the SL grid. Even the most dedicated immersionist hell-bent on projecting their mind into a digital personae cannot ignore an empty stomach for too long, and larders don’t get stocked unless you pay money for food, or for whatever is needed to produce it. In short, all SL residents have RL bills to pay. This places an irreducible cost on every build. If our creative community came to the collective decision that they no longer needed to earn money, you’d better pray that the companies supplying their Internet access, electricity and food adopt the same attitude, or else supplying SL with content would become impossible before long.

| ← Previous | | | Next → |
%d bloggers like this: