Sunday, April 8, 2012
There is a Role for Virtual Roles
Dear Mr. Castranova,
Your examination of virtual worlds and the implications that they could have on real world life is very interesting and somewhat pessimistic. I think that cautious examination is critical, though, because the virtual world has shown the potential to have a big influence on individuals. If enough individuals populate a virtual space, such as Second Life, then that can have a big impact on how we interact with each other in the physical space. I think that one of your most important statements is that we shouldn’t care about the individual people or characters in the virtual worlds but that we should care that those virtual worlds exist containing millions of characters who act outside of real world norms.
The economic impact you talk about is certainly a legitimate concern because that could harm all aspects of our society if a large part of our economic system moves to virtual worlds. You also list the events that have already occurred because of virtual worlds and some of them are alarming and hard to believe. While these events can hurt society I do not think that they are widespread enough to do any damage and companies such as IBM have found a solid use for virtual worlds. Their online conferences have proven to be a successful not only in terms of productivity but also financially. I think that you have very valid points but you should consider the case of IBM because they have proven that virtual worlds can be used in society to be productive as long as the right structure and supervision is administered.