Kim MacKenzie hits back on negative media coverage of Second Life

Kim MacKenzie, a PhD student from the Queensland University of Technology, completed some research into Second Life that formed the basis for an article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this week.

Kim has posted a thoughtful response on the post that looked at the SMH article.

It’s worth repeating Kim’s elaboration in full here:

What is it with the Australian media? Why are they focused on slandering Second Life as a failure? I have recently discussed my research findings of commercial activity within Second Life with several journalists, where only minimal quotes have been used out of their original context; in order it seems, to support an obvious negative bias.

This is extremely disappointing as it is not an accurate reflection of the important invaluable opportunity that Second Life has provided pioneering commercial exploration of VR capabilities. Just because some commercial enterprises have pulled out of Second Life does not equate to ‘failure’. Vital 3D avatar immersion lessons have been learnt, modeling and building skills developed, use of digital agents, telepresence, interactive, navigational and communication applications explored, and platform and cultural limitations realised. This is all invaluable experience for commercial frontrunners preparing to invest in a virtual future. Fundamental lessons have been learnt, and these firms will reap the rewards by being well positioned to take informed advantage of future VR developments. And fundamental developments are essential that encompass service delivery stability, ‘in world’ governance and behaviour policing, legal and copyright protection, a shift away from ‘virtual reality is just a game’ consciousness, and mainstream user adoption.

However, even though a pioneering learning curve has been successfully realised by many commercial organisations, my personal views gained from the research study is that organisations are still very limited with their exploration of VR capabilities. Most of the activity was trying to mirror real world offerings. Whilst there is merit in replicating reality using virtual building tools, I believe that the potential of VR technology offers so much more. VR is essentially an extremely powerful visualisation tool. It provides the ability to build visions that users can immerse in and experience, which offers a tremendous opportunity. An inherent human capability is to use visualisation techniques to achieve goals and outcomes. Ask any high achiever, or acclaimed athlete, of how they build success, and I am sure the concept of ‘visualisation’ will be associated. A success vision is created, and the work is done step by step to realize that vision.

My point is this. The visualisation power of VR could be instrumental in shaping visionary goals/outcomes/solutions to all sorts of situations, including humanity’s greatest problems. For example, what would human equality ‘look like’, what would a sustainable earth ‘look like’, what would ‘world peace’ look like? Collectively trying to build a vision of these scenarios using VR capabilities could provide the roadmaps for eventual real world solutions. It also means working together and pooling ideas and resources, not competing as separate entities for individual profit or gain, but rather, collectively gaining some powerful potential to move humanity forward. It’s a big idea I know, and we need ‘vision makers’ to lead the way. It would be great to start a virtual global campaign, called something like ‘Vision Quest’ that unites individuals, communities, educational bodies, United Nations, and corporations, to build visionary solutions for the future. Now that’s a success formula!

Kim’s agreed to an interview on her research, which should appear in the next week or two.

Comments

  1. Phew… glad to see Kim MacKenzie's comments on this. From the article her research conclusions came across as populist disenfranchisement with corporate failure – the everyday media line, and not so worthy of interest. I should have known that it was the media itself which ran this slant. I look forward to hearing further about her insight in this area now her views are more clearly evident.

  2. Phew… glad to see Kim MacKenzie's comments on this. From the article her research conclusions came across as populist disenfranchisement with corporate failure – the everyday media line, and not so worthy of interest. I should have known that it was the media itself which ran this slant. I look forward to hearing further about her insight in this area now her views are more clearly evident.

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  1. […] seems, though, the researcher Kim MacKenzie’s words were taken out of context, and she’s fed up about the media looking for ‘Second Life is dying’ […]

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