If you could live anywhere, where would it be? If you could be anyone, male or female, robot, or animal, what would you choose? If you could fly, would you? If you could live in a whole alternate world, have a second life, would you take advantage of the opportunity?
If you have never heard of it the best comparison would be to The Sims or World of Warcraft. Or, if you have never played those games maybe you have see the movie Tron: Legacy – a movie about a boy who goes looking for his missing father in a virtual world. Second Life allows people to create avatars and live in a virtual world. While playing I was able to choose what I wanted to look like in my virtual world. I could change my clothes, or morph myself into an animal. I could walk, run, and even fly. I went to the Bahamas and did some sightseeing, along with a few other places around the world. I was even able to talk to other avatars. I was a bit startled with a chat popped up and the other avatars were trying to talk to me. What is the proper etiquette for talking to another avatar? Do I talk like I am the “real” Michelle, or do I talk as if I am a completely different person. It was also interesting because I will probably never know the person behind the computer.
Anthropologists, more specifically digital ethnographers, study digital cultures and how the digital technology affects culture. It reveals that relationships are changing because of this, and that relationships differ online than in person. Are these changing relationships a good thing or bad thing? Well, it depends on the way you look at it, or who you ask.
How far can you take things in a virtual world until that world becomes yours? If you are married in the “real-world” can you have a girlfriend in your virtual world? Or is that cheating? That is just one example of the potential ethical issues that can arise from virtual worlds. NBC News wrote about a virtual world affair that affected a person’s life outside the computer. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
1. Have you ever played a game where you lived in a virtual world? What was your experience like?
2. If you read the article I posted from NBC News, what are your thoughts on this controversial situation?