Jun 232016
 

It’s like buses, you wait ages for one and then a load come at the same time. Recently I blogged about discussion of transhumanism in Second Life and beyond :

The topic has long been considered controversial, but it’s a discussion area that was once very vibrant in Second Life. I am surprised we have not seen more of a resurgence in this area of discussion within the Virtual Reality hype cycle.

Before I go further, with regards to the previous post I linked to, Giulio Prisco has commented on that post to say that people are welcome to go to the meeting mentioned in that post.

Over at Motherboard Vice there’s an article by Zoltan Istvan : Wild Transhumanist Campaign Tech We’ll See in Future Presidential Elections.

There are links between the post at Motherboard and my previous post, the common denominator is Terasem.

Zoltan Istvan is a 2016 USA presidential candidate for the Transhumanist party. In the article he talks about how wearable tech, the rise of VR and changing technology could very well change the way election campaigns are run. Zoltan is no stranger to the tech, indeed he was in Second Life last year and in the article he says :

As a presidential candidate myself, I also recently gave a virtual speech in Second life. At the Terasem Annual Colloquium on the Law of Futurist Persons, I spoke to an audience that consisted of about 50 avatars—some who appeared as creatures, cyborgs, and significantly mutated transhuman beings. My own avatar—kindly created by transhuman spiritual organization Terasem for this event—looked quite like me, and even had the afternoon shadow, which apparently I’m often guilty of having.

I also see from the video that Extropia DaSilva was there. The article talks about augmented reality, suggesting that candidates may want to use AR to demonstrate pie charts, live stream how walls would look and more.

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Jun 232016
 

As part of Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations an inworld Q&A session called Meet The Lindens takes place. Last night it was the turn of Linden Lab CEO to sit on the couch and answer questions.

SL Newser reporter Bixyl Shuftan reported on the event yesterday and as part of his report he wrote :

Ebbe was then asked if users of Sansar would have the option to chose their own names for their avatars, or would they be having to use real-life identities. Ebbe answered he was leaning to the latter, “I think what’s best for Sansar is real names. … anonymous identities makes things confusing.”

Hamlet Au over at New World Notes picked up on this and blogged : Project Sansar May Require RL Names, Suggests CEO. The comments on Hamlet’s post suggested that many people were not exactly enamoured by this news. Fortunately, Ebbe didn’t say that real names would be required for Project Sansar and this simply seems to have been a matter of crossed wires.

Inara Pey has the posted the full transcript and audio : SL13B: Ebbe on the Lab, Second Life, Sansar and more. Here we can see that Ebbe mentions that Linden Lab have been discussing issues of identity for Project Sansar and that real names are being discussed :

I have a preference, some other team players have slightly different preferences, so we’ll see where it ends up. But I think what would be best for Sansar would be real names, and then the ability to have personas underneath that.

This should not be taken in isolation, reading the full transcript we can see that Ebbe isn’t saying that everyone should have to display real names, but he feels it might be ideal if Linden Lab know your real name and that in certain circumstances you may well be in a setting where real names are a better option :

So I could go into a role-playing, or into an experience as an anonymous user in that context. But to the platform, I am not anonymous. And so, without making that too complicated and confusing, is that the right answer? We’ll see. But I think to, it would certainly help with griefing and other things. And it also supports a lot of interesting use-cases where anonymity is actually just really confusing, and actually gets in the way.

You can think of a lot of professional use-cases where there are teachers and students and professionals having meetings where these anonymous identities makes things really confusing; “I know Bob, I want to talk to Bob. Who the hell is this Jumping Jack guy?”

So we’re still debating this, and I’m pushing in one way, and people are pushing in different ways, and we’ll see where we end up. I mean, unfortunately, to implement real names is also really complicated. Do you hitch a ride with Facebook, or do you have to somehow build your own real name system.

There’s more, a lot more and I urge people to read it in full. If you want to go straight to this part of the transcript go here. The important things to note are that Linden Lab have not yet made a decision but it looks as if they are talking about the possibility of using your real name or a pseudonym depending upon the experience you’re visiting. This is not a new discussion at Linden Lab and has been going on since well before Ebbe Altberg joined the company.

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Jun 222016
 

Stonehenge

Away from Second Life’s 13th birthday celebrations we move into an area that used to be discussed a lot more in the earlier days of Second Life; Transhumanism. Over at The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) Giulio Prisco has a published a post : Paradiso and Inferno in Robin Hanson’s ‘The Age of EM’.

The post discusses a book by Robin Hanson, The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth. The topic has long been considered controversial, but it’s a discussion area that was once very vibrant in Second Life. I am surprised we have not seen more of a resurgence in this area of discussion within the Virtual Reality hype cycle.

The blurb from the book tells us :

Robots may one day rule the world, but what is a robot-ruled Earth like?

Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ems. Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human.

Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks.

Giulio, in his post, gives us more information regarding the content of the book :

Robin’s future em world is derived from our world with one – and only one – big change: the arrival of operational and cheap mind uploading technology, sometime in this century. Robin’s methodology is to take our world as it, with all the facts and trends that we can see in technology, society, politics, and economics, and add mind uploading technology to scan living people and copy them to “ems” – software emulations running on suitable computing hardware.

This is very Science Fiction and if you’re not familiar with the topics, you may find this all a bit daunting, odd, scary or all three.

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Jun 222016
 

Meet Ebbe Linden

Today I was reading an article over at the Inquisitr by Cal Jeffrey : No Man’s Sky’ Spoilers: Indie Developer To Revolutionize Gaming After Settling Lawsuit. The article is, as you would expect, about the hotly anticipated No Man’s Sky, which I am very interested in.

The article starts by pointing out that No Man’s Sky will still be called No Man’s Sky after settling a trademark dispute with SKY broadcasting group. This seems to be an absurd claim by the way, I am not sure how SKY had a leg to stand on, but apparently they did. The Sky was here long before the broadcaster, but I digress.

Another part of the article caught my eye :

No Man’s Sky has no plot or storyline. This aspect may be its only drawback, but the move is intentional. Hello Games wants a game where players create a story of their own. In that sense, the game is a bit like the now defunct Second Life. Second Life had no story. Players just logged in and lived their second life. The difference with No Man’s Sky is that there will be things to do in this game and there will be lore to uncover and somehow the Atlas ties into that lore.

I’m used to people saying “Second Life, is that still around?” but defunct? Nothing to do? This in the same week as Second Life is celebrating its 13th birthday!

Doc and Lindens

Today’s event schedule can be found here and again we see a mixture of events including DJ’s, live music, discussion, poetry, dance performances and more. There’s pretty much 24 hours worth of events scheduled.

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Jun 202016
 

SL13B Gift Vendor

The Second Life Community Celebrations to mark Second Life’s official 13th birthday are in full swing and there’s a lot going on, so much going on that for a visitor it may be a tad daunting, but fear not, there are ways of finding out what’s going on.

Your first port of call should be the Second Life Community Celebration Website because this will contain detailed information.

SL13B Welcome Area

The website contains blogs, event information, region information and much more. Now an important thing to note here is that there’s a hell of a lot going on and this is useful to know because it means that if you find a region is full and you can’t get in, there’s a very good chance something else will be going on at the same time and you may very well be able to get into that event.

As an example, Monday’s schedule for 4pm SLT (16:00 SLT) offers :

  • DJ Tarantula Bombastic – DJ Stage
  • Live Reading Of HP Lovecraft – Auditorium
  • Maxx Sabretooth – Cake Stage
  • Retune Resident – Live Stage
  • BubbaC John – Stage Left

So there’s a mix of DJ’s, live music and storytelling at the same time, so plenty of choice.

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Jun 192016
 

Medieval Faire1

The Second Annual Unmasking a Cure (UAC) Medieval Faire opened on June 17th and runs until June 26th. The event is a fundraiser for Relay For Life in Second Life and items will be on sale for that purpose with all proceeds from those sales going to Relay For Life.

Signs and Map

The faire is in the style of a renaissance faire and activities include jousting, en garde, sword play, magic, archery, and horse racing. There will also be entertainment with a dozen live performers and numerous DJ’s entertaining the medieval masses.

Looking For Directions

There are over 50 merchants participating at the faire too so if you want to kit out your avatar or just take a look at the wares available, this may be the faire for you.

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Jun 172016
 

Bear and Dwarfins

Time machine time, back to the annals of history, all the way back to June 23rd 2003 :

Residents and prospective residents,

Welcome to Second Life!

I am pleased to announce that today, Monday June 23rd, we are releasing Second Life version 1.0, and opening the service for general availability.

We’ve been able to reach this milestone through a combination of very hard work in creating a unique new technology and product, and the amazing efforts and engagement of our Early Creators and beta residents.

A ‘ball-drop’ ceremony was held in-world last night to celebrate the release.

Along with the many early residents of Second Life, let me salute our entire team of ‘Lindens’ for bringing this amazing experience to life. It has been a tremendous effort and, well worth it.

Philip Rosedale
aka Philip Linden

With that, Second Life was officially born. This Sunday, June 19th at noon SLT (12:00 PDT I think!) the doors will open for the Second Life Community Celebrations to mark Second Life’s 13th birthday! Hurrah!

Hairy Hippo Fun Land

The brief version of the schedule is :

  • Sunday, June 19, noon SLT: Opening Day
  • Thursday June 23: The Birthday
  • Sunday, June 19 to Sunday, June 26: Sims open with performances
  • Monday, June 27 to Sunday, July 3: Sims open for viewing, no performances
  • Sunday, July 3: Staff party
  • Monday, July 4 to Wednesday, July 6: Breakdown
  • Thursday, July 7: Sims go offline

However that’s a very brief version of a celebration that will involve DJ’s, Live Music, Panels, Entertainment, Interviews and much much more.

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Jun 172016
 

Danger

Whilst reading last week’s Highlights from The Second Life Destination Guide I noticed a place called Plagues of Egypt. The blurb informs us :

Explore this Egyptian-themed build representing the Egyptian plagues circa Moses and the 10 Commandments.

So I decided to go and take a look.

Plague

The location is a parcel named Xiao Tiangang on a region called Devils Mind. This is certainly an atmospheric parcel and I found myself sliding my feet on the street, bending my back, shifting my arm and then pulling it back.

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Jun 152016
 

Christian Petersen over at ArtSlant has published a great interview : The Wednesday Web Artist of the Week: LaTurbo Avedon. This is an interview with digital/virtual artist, LaTurbo Avedon but what makes the interview great for me is that it goes beyond artwork and delves into areas of avatar identity, creative spaces and much more.

I speak a lot about how good Draxtor Despres Drax Files : World Makers series is, because it gets to the real physical person behind the avatar, but Christian highlights another way of how avatars can evolve and how lines between the physical and virtual world can blur :

The artist LaTurbo Avedon may be a computer-created avatar but she is very much alive. Her identity has been created through very real experiences and interactions over numerous websites, social platforms, and gaming consoles. The notion that there is a “real” person behind the avatar becomes increasingly meaningless as the division between all of our online and IRL identities blur and dissipate.

That’s a fascinating way of looking at how avatars can evolve. LaTurbo Avedon has evolved via many platforms but she has deep roots in Second Life which go all the way back to 2006 and in her time in Second Life LaTurbo built and ran a club, which exemplifies a strong engagement with the environment because running clubs, even in the virtual world, is not as easy as some may think.

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Jun 132016
 

Casper Warden

Linden Lab have blogged;  Casper Warden of CasperVend Collecting Donations to Support Victims of Orlando Shooting :

In light of the tradegy that struck Orlando nighclub, Pulse this past weekend, Casper Warden of CasperVend has set up a kiosk in his mainstore to collect donations for the GoFundMe set up by Equality Florida to benefit and support the victims of this horrific event.

When I visited, Casper was actually there, but I didn’t want to bother him, he was doing something with the sign in the picture, which also acts as a collection kiosk.

Pulse Nightclub Fundraiser

Casper plans to donate the funds raised to the Equality Florida GoFundMe page. which has been created by Ida Vishkaee Eskamani, a Development Officer with Equality Florida, she resides in Orlando, Florida.  People can of course donate directly on that page if they prefer, rather than inworld but you want be able to donate Linden Dollars on the GoFundMe page of course.

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