As I patiently sit at home while waiting for one of my servers to complete its tribulations (long story!), I was briefly scanning some of the ‘old’ places in the SLogosphere (do people still call it these days?) where I used to hang around for inspiration about what would be the Next Best Thing coming to Second Life and/or OpenSimulator. And, not surprisingly at this time, the issue about Project Sansar (which is actively inviting content developers to participate in a slightly-more-open-almost-beta-phase) robbing Linden Lab of all resources so that Second Life will crumble to dust comes up — like it does every time the Lab announces a further step towards completing Project Sansar and opening it to the public.
Once in a while, I like to pop over to the Singularity freaks at Singularity HUB; they are the sort of crazy that I often enjoy — trying to figure out where we’re going, based on the trends of current technology advancement. They will get most things wrong, of course, but it’s also great to see so much optimism packed in a single site 🙂
Recently they have been discussing the end of millions of jobs thanks to advances in robotization and artificial intelligence, showing how things might not be as bad as they seem; a topic, btw, that Extropia DaSilva is being addressing since past May on her own blog, on a huge eight-part essay.
I’m personally a skeptic and think that there will be a trade-off at some point. Jobs will be lost by the dozens of millions until there simply will not be enough consumers to consume dozens of millions of products at ultra-cheap prices manufactured by robots. So at some point, something has to be done. On my comment on Peter Diamandis’ article on the costs of products and services plummeting eventually to zero, therefore creating a society where work is (barely) unnecessary, I unfortunately (as always) reached the internal size limits when commenting, so I reproduce it here:
So I’m slowly — very slowly! — trying to catch up with things. Bear with me for a while longer. I cannot promise to go back to the routine of ‘several blog posts per day’ (like I did in, uh, was it 2005?…) not even ‘once a week’. It takes time to ‘come back’. Little baby steps, as I tend to playfully tell my psychologist. Things are getting better, that’s definitely true, and I can clearly see my way out of this stupid depression… which is encouraging, of course… but I’m not there yet. Not yet. But almost.
I feel well enough, however, to slowly tackle some tasks, that would be utterly impossible even to dream about two years ago — or even a year ago. And one of those things was to try to figure out if I could even continue doing things in my line of work at all.
The answer was ‘yes’ but it took me two years to arrive at that answer.
Rumours of my permanent disappearance, as always, have been exaggerated 🙂
I’ve tried to write a comment on the latest article on High Fidelity posted on Technology Review. But I’m long-winded and their system didn’t accept my comment. So here it is:
Rosedale’s latest attempt at designing a virtual world from scratch shows that he has learned a lot of lessons in the past 15 years. The article neglects to explain Rosedale’s background in physics; Linden Lab actually started by being a VR gear company, doing the hardware first, and designing a virtual world in order to test their gear, simply known as ‘The Rig‘, and which is allegedly still stored somewhere at Linden Lab’s premises. It was never commercially sold. Read More
A decade ago, information about Second Life® was scarce. Newbies would drop into a Brave New World and get completely confused. There were in-world volunteers — and the Linden Liaisons — to help you out, but often it was hard to assemble a lot of information to get you going. There were already the LL forums, of course, but newcomers might not know where to find them.
In late 2004, I’ve joined a few groups that did a lot of discussion events. Often people could not attend them, so transcripts were kept and posted on the Linden Lab forums.
Reading a transcript ‘after-the-fact’ is not the same thing as participating in a discussion in real time. For me, the major difficulty is keeping track on who said what. After a while it’s hard to remember who is actually speaking. Read More
Unless you have been hiding in a warp hole somewhere (like I am!) you might have missed the latest announcement from Linden Lab: Second Life: The Next Generation, or SL2, or — as I prefer to call it — NeXT Life, is currently being developed, and the first beta will probably appear sometime in late 2015/early 2016 or thereabouts.
I’m currently under a lot of pressure to do my work, and every time I post anything on my blog, I get a lot of complaints that I should be working instead of blogging 🙂 The complainers are right, of course… but every once in a while, I also need to rest my mind, and do that by focusing on completely different and unrelated issues. Just to prove that I’m alive and well, and will resume my analysis of Second Life and virtual worlds in general, as soon as my current work is completed (alas, it should take another year…), here are a few thoughts about a recent discussion that captured my attention on the SL Universe forums. My comments make more sense if you take your time reading that discussion first. I tried to post an answer there, but unfortunately I’m too long-winded for common forums; I had to resort to a blog post to overcome the character limitations 🙂
Thanks to the very intelligent community that regularly discusses at SL Universe. You guys are truly an inspiration for me!
The more time passes, the more I tend to believe a few basic assumptions about SL, some of which, as you will see, are contradictory:
I’m breaking my long period of silence (I should be working instead of blogging!) just to share with you some exciting news.
Since Linden Lab introduced user-generated, custom animations in June 2004, people have been craving for a more ‘natural’ way of animating their avatars, without resource to pre-loaded animations. Avatar ‘expression HUDs’ and the increasingly more complex Animation Overriders have gone a long way to give us more and more animations and gestures.
But it’s not enough. We want more. We want to be able that our avatar expresses exactly what we’re doing behind the screen. We want to be able to dynamically control our virtual persona.
The year was, oh, perhaps 2009 or so. In the middle of all the excitement about virtual worlds in general and Second Life® in particular, professional 3D designers were raising eyebrows at a new opportunity to sell their content.
A virtual world with a million regular users who were engaged in consuming digital content, specifically, 3D models? And doing so regularly? Half a billion US$ of yearly transactions? Strong DRM in place (what we residents call “the permission system”)? All that just to prettify avatars and put them on poses on top of some virtual furniture? Well, it seemed too good to be true. And there was, indeed, a catch: you had to use Linden Lab’s own application to create content — which was designed having amateur content creators in mind, not professionals.
Professionals, well, used meshes — and had done so for over a decade. They populate marketplace sites like Renderosity, DAZ3D, BlendSwap, and who knows what else; doing business selling COLLADA files (or at least Wavefront OBJs… or Blender files… or whatever was popular at the time as a file format). They used Maya, 3DS Max, Blender — professional content creation tools. They had graphic pipelines fine-tuned for their own work — design once, deploy everywhere. Well, everywhere except Second Life, because SL had no way to use their creations: you had to do everything from scratch.
A few naturally went that way, and prospered. But the rest of the professional 3D content creation world stayed away. And, ironically, as the media started to lose interest in SL, Linden Lab spread rumours that mesh import would be available as an option in the near future.
I think I’ve told my tale a billion times, but, for my rezday, I’ll tell it once again. My roomie and I were far away from home on exile. We had been tracked via the Internet by some rough guys who applied extortion to us; we had to leave and let the police take care of them (yes, they have completely vanished and eluded the justice after we filed our complaint). I shut down most of my Internet presences by then, just leaving the company email active, as well as my 17-year-old personal email. I stopped participating on forums, on ICQ, MSN, and whatever sites I had been registered with; Facebook didn’t exist yet, but there were others.
In 2013, WordPress celebrated its 10th birthday, and so did Google AdSense. You surely knew that, right? After all, almost one fifth of all websites in the world run WordPress; and AdSense is used by 14.9% of all websites and in the subject of market share, it represents 75.6% — earning Google some whopping US$9.71 billion in 2011.
No wonder everybody in the world has heard about Google AdSense. On the other hand, even though WordPress, after a decade, is still misrepresented as a “blogging platform”, most people will have an idea of what it is being used for. Well, perhaps not “most”. But a few hundred of millions certainly will.