8, 8 days until Disney! Ah ha ha!

Can virtual worlds really become people's real worlds?

I ask because it's clear real life has little to offer the average person and we are comming to a point where convincing immersive worlds will be possible and the cost of minimal living will be low enough that one could spend most of our time in virtual worlds.

And by virtual worlds I mean a world that is almost completely in character and encodes an ethos like midieval world, or native american world, gangster world, etc. An ethos more inline with whatever they resonate with rather than the world they find themselves in. It's a degree of freedom that has never been available before and it's fascinating to contemplate.

I know this scenario has always been a kind of joke, but is it a rational lifestyle choice?
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 11:43am
Unlikely. How many people do you who can support their needs purely off a part time job?

OTOH - if the did they'd remove themselves from the breeding population so no long term harm done.
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 20th, 2006 11:47am
that should read "...do you know who..."
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 20th, 2006 11:48am
Economies within virtual worlds are probably sufficient to fund a minimal pod type living situation.
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 11:50am
I'm deeply sceptical about that...
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 20th, 2006 11:52am
A cynic is skeptical? Nooo :-)

Lots of people make money within Second Life, for example.
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 12:00pm
I'm sure lots do, however I find unlikely that a significant number treat it as their primary income for an extended period. (A young person living rent & bills free at their parents doesn't count)
Permalink Send private email a cynic writes... 
September 20th, 2006 12:18pm
Watch out if there is ever a way to build such a virtual world with suits or actual electronic boundaries.  Once we get to that point, there will be people living almost entirely in such worlds.

As it is now, a screen and keyboard are still cold reminders that this is not real.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 12:29pm
> Once we get to that point, there will be people living almost entirely in such worlds.

Why are you so certain?
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 12:31pm
The question is, can a person be happy living in online virtual communities even if their actual physical surroundings suck?  Because if you don't want a TV, can live in a 100 sq ft efficiency.. you don't really need that much money to just survive.  It could even be possible to be married to someone with whom you spend time and socialize in this virtual world.  I think that it's quite possible, assuming it's affordable enough that a person doesn't have to work much to maintain themselves physically.

That said, I don't think it's likely to become a norm; some people would do it, but most would not like the artificial-ness of it.  And also, you can't really raise kids if you spend all your time in a virtual world.
Permalink the great purple 
September 20th, 2006 12:38pm
I'm certain because of the success of MMORPGs and what-not.

http://games.slashdot.org/games/06/09/20/1241251.shtml


I mean, one teeny reason why I began to believe I should leave my last employer is because the main IT guys were spending evenings stuck in WoW.  I was becoming out of the queue because of that, and the comraderie they had because of it was pretty real.  They spoke their own lingo, had their own in-jokes.  These were people who weren't really geeks by most definitions, didn't spend time off geeking out, etc.  Just normal guy guys.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 12:44pm
> They spoke their own lingo, had their own in-jokes. 

Would you feel the same if they were from a common culture like India or Utah?
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 12:56pm
"Would you feel the same if they were from a common culture like India or Utah?"

Absolutely.  I totally felt they were involved in a culture of their own that they shared that I couldn't really participate in unless I immersed myself, just as they did.

The example I gave is just my personal experience, and not to be used as empirical evidence.  It leads me to believe that such a culture is entirely possible, already happening, and bound to get more intense with larger numbers of participants.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 1:05pm
lol.  at my last job I eventually sent a desperate email to the various department heads begging them to ask their people to not talk about World of Warcraft during work hours.  I said that I didn't care if they talked about it at work if it's during lunch or after hours, but please, please, give me a few hours of peace in between so I didn't have to deal with it ALL the FREAKING TIME.

It worked well, I think they thought I was going to snap and start killing people.  Which, if you know me, is actually sort of comical.
Permalink the great purple 
September 20th, 2006 1:09pm
> It leads me to believe that such a culture is
> entirely possible, already happening, and bound
> to get more intense with larger numbers of participants.

Yep. But I wonder what that means? We already have most people playing the earn-a-lot-of-money game. That's a great diversion and is a game where the setting is the real world though the rules are all virtual.

Now we have virtual games + virtual rules. A lot of people will just translate the money game into the virtual world, but many will just shift to a different game.

What will society look like with so much energy sapped by these silly games?
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 1:18pm
You got them all to stop talking about War of Warcraft?  We're they getting there jobs done?  Was it okay to talk about their children and the cricket scores but not War of Warcraft?  Let me be blunt: you're a facist for trying to stop them from discussing WoW and a jerk for going to the dept. heads.  I'm glad I don't work with you.
Permalink cpm 
September 20th, 2006 1:18pm
> Let me be blunt

Isn't amazing how bluntness and ignorance so often go hand in hand?
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 1:20pm
"Let me be blunt: you're a facist for trying to stop them from discussing WoW and a jerk for going to the dept. heads.  I'm glad I don't work with you."

Suffice it to say that they wouldn't have gone along with my request had it been unreasonable.  And to put it in perspective, I was one of five dept heads in a 20 person company.  It wasn't like I was encouraging management to Decree From On High.
Permalink the great purple 
September 20th, 2006 1:26pm
Why does it suffice to say?  Management did it, therefore it was reasonable?  If it was so reasonable, why were you unable to convince the people to stop by asking them?

One reason management did it could be because they thought it would help them make money.  That might be one definition of reasonable, but not mine. Another reason management did it could be because they like you better than those WoW idiots.  That might be another definition of reasonable, but not mine.

Out of curiousity, what were the 5 departments?
Permalink cpm 
September 20th, 2006 1:42pm
I know people are social animals who derive much of their self-identity and self-worth from the company they keep, the social bonds they make, and secondly, these social bonds are referential rather than physical. An adopted child feels love for their adopted parents that's no less real than a biological child, same with a virtual social environment. Hence the case for the real power of virtual social bonds, and from these, the effectiveness of a virtual self-identity.

Yet when you mention "the ethos of a ganster world," I cannot help but feel that it's just a game. That a life lived in a virtual ganster world isn't as risky as a life lived in a physical ganster world, or even as risky as life in the physical corporate world (ask someone who went homeless during the dotcom bust). That virtual worlds are for playing, and that a normal person (as opposed to a Korean gaming addict) who is virtually stuck in a medieval dungeon, can still leave the play to go get a ham sandwich and a Slurpie if they are hungry, take a piss they won't have to smell for the rest of the night, stretch and take a nap to regain their fighting strength. In sum, that it's far, far easier to detach from a virtual ethos than from the one one's body has jailed one in. But having that detachment, the option to detach even, devalues the very thrill, the absolute awe of the ethos itself (I've noted that the appeal of a show like 'Deadwood' lies in the very American ideal of moving on and creating your own ethical system instead of accepting the limits and tradeoffs of the one a person is born into). For the non-addicts, it's just a game.

I'll just add that I've yet encountered a virtual world as alive to the senses as September in New England. The chiarascuro of hot and cold sensations while swimming around a lake on a sunny Sunday afternoon (one cove has a cold natural spring). The thrilling proprioception of reeling in an 8 pound carp (and of grinding said carp, bones and all, into a great-grandmother's gefilte fish recipe). The decadent musk and crisp silence of the woods on a mushroom hunt (oh, please, don't mock; who needs the virtual worlds of psilocybin when chanterelles and porcinis are so yummy). And the very, very real, viscerally chilling fright, unrepresentable by pixels, bits or words, of being caught in those same woods after sundown.
Permalink Send private email just me 
September 20th, 2006 2:01pm
I guess it suffices to say because the other 4 dept heads were talking about it as much as anyone else.  I kid you not, out of the 20 people, I was maybe one out of 3 who weren't playing.  The president of the company was as bad as anyone else, but he had his own office and didn't wander by and disrupt my day the way everyone else would.  The depts were: db, interface, qa, is, and project management.
Permalink the great purple 
September 20th, 2006 2:06pm
"I'll just add that I've yet encountered a virtual world as alive to the senses as September in New England. The chiarascuro of hot and cold sensations while swimming around a lake on a sunny Sunday afternoon (one cove has a cold natural spring). The thrilling proprioception of reeling in an 8 pound carp (and of grinding said carp, bones and all, into a great-grandmother's gefilte fish recipe). The decadent musk and crisp silence of the woods on a mushroom hunt (oh, please, don't mock; who needs the virtual worlds of psilocybin when chanterelles and porcinis are so yummy). And the very, very real, viscerally chilling fright, unrepresentable by pixels, bits or words, of being caught in those same woods after sundown."

Okay, I can only guess at some of those $5 words, but boy, they make CoT more interesting.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 2:55pm
I find it nicely meta that the question itself is on an obscure forum populated by a self selected population, most of whom live in meatspace very far from one another.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 2:57pm
Heh.  And hopelessly addicted.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 3:01pm
"of being caught in those same woods after sundown"

Is that the fear of getting lost in the dark in an unfriendly place, the fear of getting hunted down and devoured by a wild animal, or the fear of the police finally hunting down your pervert ass and catching you?
Permalink Scott 
September 20th, 2006 3:52pm
Now where is that video of the two guys playing a 3D video game...they kept smashing the character into walls, made him fall down a few times, basically abusing it, scarring it.  The character stops obeying, and walks across a street, through a door.  The scene then shows the character, in real life, beating the shit out of the two game players!

I love that!  This thread reminds me of it somehow.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 4:01pm
Chiarascuro (which I always misspell) is a contrasting pattern of light and dark in painting. The wave-interference pattern on the surface of lake reminds me of it.

Propioception (which I also misspell) is the sensation your body gives you of being in the world. It's the feedback you get from your limbs as they move. While fishing, while waiting those five, ten minutes for the fish to tire, the fish at the end of the line becomes an extension of yourself ... you sense its movement as if it too was an integral part of your own body. Of course, if you do it right, and the fish gets too tired to snap the line and escape, it trully will become an integral part of your body - when eaten. (A bit of a ground up metaphor indeed.)

You're welcome. :)
Permalink Send private email George Eliot quoter 
September 20th, 2006 4:48pm
considering how cheaply you can live in some south asian countries, and how good bandwidth is becoming widely available, i think that the virtual world phenomenon is going to grow and expand.

it's already reached a point where one can earn a living doing "work" in virtual worlds.
Permalink Kenny 
September 20th, 2006 4:49pm
As a programmer.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 4:53pm

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