Virtual Worlds are edging in and it can’t be denied. Why, because virtual worlds have evolved into something called the 3D Web. Whether gamification is used – avatars working on goals in competition is pointless. Whether augmented reality is used to describe pointing your camera at the physical world and calling it AR is quaint. The whole point is – virtual worlds are technologies that extend the human experience between the physical world and the digital world. If you feel like you’re “in it” – it’s a virtual world. If you feel like you are swimming in the data – it’s a virtual world. Whether the avatar is human, an iphone app, or a cursor, it’s all you being represented and deeply immersed in a virtual world.
Look at the Federal Challenge of Virtual Worlds, you have a weight loss program in which avatars and meeting with other avatars in a world where they have to smash fast food into oblivion. They are creepily followed by a chicken leg until they so “no, no, and I mean hell no”. They flip coins to flip (or reframe) their thinking. This is a virtual world that works. The point is – the winners are those that are creating virtual world apps that are converging the technologies to help people. I’ve been around computers since the early 80s, in and out of institutions like Unisys, Sun, Microsoft. The marketing departments work like James Brown on stage – they keep singing Turing soul songs, convincing you this is a computer that you can relate to. And, every instance is. I’m so impressed with let’s keep building more apps. Let’s call them phone apps, VW apps, Droid apps, whatever, Let’s just keep pressing on to see if we can use technology to serve us in being better humans, better societies, and using the enormous potential for solving world problems together, and entertaining ourselves when we do it.