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Who's on Second?

I never saw the appeal of sites such as Second Life. I understand they have had a favorable effect on some people's real lives—they provide a means for people who have trouble interacting in real life to learn how—but I'm too much of an extrovert to settle for avatars.

But I was interested to see that Larry Niven and Michael Whelan have both visited Second Life. The interview with them, conducted by some Second Life folks, had some interesting responses from Larry Niven:

Hiliary Grant: Mr. Niven..Other than copyright protection..were you ever afraid that someone would copy your ideas from your novels?
Niven, "It happens. I learned to use the word 'homage' rather than 'rip off" because it saves my sanity."

Abronia Mubble: With all the recent advancements in science and technology, does this make it easier, or harder, to come up with unique ideas for science fiction?
Niven, "What I've found is I used to be able to be first with an idea. This is no longer possible. Everyone has access to everything that happens. Now I have to be best."

Charlene Siemens: Have you ever rejected an idea as too implausible or unlikely, only for it to become reality some time later?
Niven, "No.""

Not much of an expansive answer on the last question. I thought the "first with an idea" answer was more revealing. He didn't focus on technological and scientific advances themselves but on the means people use to keep informed about them. Considering he was speaking to a bunch of folks who were only there in a virtual reality sense, his response had a kind of circular coherence.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
I'm very enthusiastic about social networking, but you won't find me on Second Life. When a friend tried to recruit me to join last month, she made it sound so attractive that I just had to go and do a little digging about the place. And I didn't like quite a lot of what I found.

This blog post is very enlightening about the way the Linden Lab treats residents.

I also discovered that the porn industry is getting into Second Life in a big way. Apparently there's a police investigation underway into a virtual child molestation that took place in there recently. That kind of thing.

And the final straw was when I read that Second Life TOS state that while users own their own content, Linden Lab owns the access to that content - which gives them effective ownership of all user-generated content within Second Life.
Sep. 2nd, 2008 11:44 am (UTC)
Wow, it all sounds very ominous! I think I will settle for my first life.

Edited at 2008-09-02 03:43 pm (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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