Last night, I watched ‘The Matrix’ yet again. What a film, and surely one of those landmarks that sends shivers down the back of your spine.
The Matrix was where I got my taste for virtual worlds. I saw how those who understood the Matrix were free of the conditioning and saw that they could change the fabric of their reality to mold the world they inhabited around them simply because they understood it. As for myself, I came into virtual worlds with the wish to create my own perfect environment. As I know many others did.
Philip Rosedale when asked about Secondlife said, “It’s a bit like The Matrix… We provide the land, and the community builds the actual world, which gives everyone a huge sense of being pioneers in a great experiment.”.
Artificial Environment Or Reality
Spot the difference?
Then I realized that it was not this Artificial Environment I wanted changed, but my own reality. I wanted a better reality, an increased reality – after all, even in The Matrix, things were not fundamentally different. They were just added to, and manipulated by, the participants who understood the reality of the environment. To improve their circumstances – and yes, break free of the constraints of a false society.
Many comments are made about societies as we have them here, but I will leave that alone. Instead I will comment on the utopia of virtual worlds – or rather, the perception of a utopia.
The Matrix showed us a bleak future, one where we are all battery cells for machines (in fact that could be true of society – itself an endless controlling machine all around us). However there was an escape, but it came at a price – a high price. That of understanding the truth.
The truth for all virtual worlds, online games and social media is that you cannot escape from yourself. Wherever you are, whatever tool you use, you take yourself with you. These social media allow us to reflect ourselves through many more people that we would normally have in our lifetime. Yet all are embedded into the very societies that we already belong.
If you interact with people online, respect them. Realize that – beyond pixels on the screen, there are humans too. Treat others as you would want to be treated. That way you get a good reputation and make many great friends. Respect online is vital to ensure you are accepted and wanted as part of the community.
What We Do Affects Others
Behind the avatars and their ‘handles’ (CBers from long ago will recognise this term – it refers to a chosen name to represent yourself, as you would have other think of you), you will have correct etiquette in cyberspace if you treat others with the respect you want to receive yourself – offer integrity and transparency.
We are a long way from The Matrix, and in some way I am glad, because if we treated others with that level of inhumanity, then we are lost – but in other ways, we are just starting the ride.
Technically, Second Life and its sister platforms are the MS-DOS of virtual worlds. The prototypes and beginners. Infants ready to walk.
Just as MS-DOS was overtaken by Windows, virtual worlds as we know them in their pixelated forms, will be replaced by a superior technology, easier, faster and cheaper (in terms of processing power and financial cost) to use.
It is my belief that in this world, as in ‘The Matrix’, we will primarily use virtual replicas of our real life space and want that as our base. From this safety we will venture out to the rest of the ‘world’, both real and imaginary.
We are all still waiting for The Matrix facsimile of virtual worlds. Somewhere, someone will be building them, perhaps even now there is a future being created that all will be integrated into. Is it going to be Secondlife though?
Philip has now moved on to pioneer High Fidelity. Ebbe Altberg holds the Linden Lab controls. Under his leadership, Linden Lab has created an alternative Utopia under the name Sansar. These all offer very different platforms and experiences. However these are not the only players in the game, other contenders also battle for your virtual mind share. Will it be a bloodbath or will one Matrix clone manage to strip the others bare?
You choose – what will it be? the red pill or blue pill?