Monday, March 17, 2008

Life 2.0 Keynote

Flew around and talked and took pics before today's sessions started.

From the Life 2.o website:
9:00 AM PDT - 10:00 AM PDT
Mitch Kapor, Chairman, Linden Research - SL:MitchK Linden
Deeper, more satisfying immersion hangs fire on the emergence of a new generation of interfaces, which harness gesture both to project identity and assist communication, and to enable simpler, more vivid means of interacting with objects and people. Continuing the thread begun at Davos and Metaverse U., at Stanford, Mr. Kapor will describe and chart the implications of one such device, nearing introduction.
Mitchell Kapor is the Chairman of Linden Research, maker of Second Life. He is a software designer, entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist. In 1982 he founded Lotus Development Corporation and designed Lotus 1-2-3, the "killer app" which made the PC ubiquitous in business. As an angel investor, he was the first funder of UUNET, Real Networks, and Linden Labs. He is the co- founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been called the ACLU of cyberspace, and is the former Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, which makes the open source Firefox web browser. He is also a trustee of the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, which supports programs in education and environmental justice, and of the Level Playing Field Institute, whose mission is to enhance equal opportunity in the workplace and support the values of an inclusive society.

Mitch started out talking about aha moments he's had with virtual worlds and mentioned Susan Vega and An Inconvenient truth. One really brought home the reality of new types of interaction in "immersive spaces" and the other brought home the environmental impact virtual meetings could have be decreasing the need for the use of fossil fuels (particularly jets) to get to a significant percentage of meetings. The energy to run a computer is far less than the energy used to travel.

Then he said he always gets the question, "How is this different than videoconferencing?" Shmoozing., pre- and post- presentation conversations, meeting new people --- these are all possible in the metaverse and not in videoconferencing.

Photorealisitic avatars were next. You can now upload 3 pics and within 5 minutes have an avatar that looks like you.

Of course the use of digital realities for training is also very promising.

His own group is looking at diversity training to increase empathy and understanding through the use of avatars and virtual worlds. It is coming but it isn't here yet.

Gestures are the elements of the next big change. 3DV or the 3D camera is here and on it's way to the world. The technology uses infrared with very fast shutter. With the right software a 3d camera can capture real world scenes and insert into them into the virtual world.
Cameras will be basis of freeing us from the keyboard in a way that is reminiscent of the movie magic technology used in "Minority Report."

Christmas 2009 will be the real marketing debut of this as an available technology on a market scale.

For the most part, gamers are still driving the technology in this area.

Kaper Enterprises' use of 3DV cameras will be viewable on You Tube within a couple of weeks where you will be able to see the use of gestural control of avatars leaping, crouching, and the like.

Being able to mirror real life body language and expression will be next major focus for avatar overlays and will be much more realistic. The ability to use body language will make for a much more immersive experience. It requires a huge amount of work and isn't just around the corner as it requires a significant re-engineering of the back-end of virtual worlds.

He believes this change will be just as revolutionary to fundamental technology as the mouse was as a fundamental change technology for GUI.

The cost divide will lessen over time as well.


Why will it take so long?
  • camera limitations
  • until technology is there
  • habit system of 1985 --- just too soon.

Many things have to be right.

Can a comment on P. Rosedale reaction to his stepping down as chairman of the board be made?

It took 7-9 yrs for vision realization of Philip's idea. A founder doesn't remain CEO forever, at some point a success means division. (Visionary perspectives often different than that needed for the running of a Company.

It is going to be exciting.


A better interface is high on his list.

He's not sure what comes after 3VD. It is a very long way off.

Open sim - open source?
The largest most vibrant ecosystem possible is good and healthy. Wouldn't you rather have a big pie rather than just a big slice of a small pie?

Will see touch devices versus camera devices as targets of research.

Even SL for mobile devices.

Component development for SL presents "insurmountable opportunities."

Redesign and rearchitecture is very important and you have to prioritize innovation.
Emotional and financial investment factor in of course.

Everyone in the community understands the family sensitive nature and challenges of stand alone grids.

Thanked the audience for the intensity of interest and attention. He applauds such enthusiasm.

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About this blog and Second Ana:

My photo
The Womens Center, Second Life
Ana Herzog, avatar in the virtual world of Second Life, expounds on the semiotics of identity in the metaverse, alternate realities, feminism, artistic expression and the growing use of SL as a a progressive networking tool. Second Ana was born into Second Life on July 8th of 2006. Her island, The Womens Center, will officially open on the Autumnal Equinox. She owns Casita Gaia, an Interior Furnishings Boutique in Barcelona del Oeste. She is the local coordinator for CODEPINK SL. CODEPINK SL is an international chapter of CODEPINK Women for Peace. CODEPINK is also represented by our hut hangout on Commonwealth Island where our neighbors include the ACLU and Green Peace.