Science Friday over at NPR did a show yesterday on virtual worlds. They had an impressive panel participating in the discussion:
Here’s the list of guests that were on the air:
- Dmitri Williams, Assistant professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication, Los Angeles, California
- Cory Ondrejka, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Linden Lab, San Francisco, California
- Sherry Turkle, Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Eric Lofgren, PhD Epidemiology Candidate, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The discussion focused on the various aspects of Second Life. They touched on the history of the platform, a few observations on the early days (a forest that you visit?). The various sociological and cultural aspects of the environment were discussed. How relationships are formed, and why people become personally attached to their avatars. The possibly applications of Second Life in education were tossed around. And towards the end of the discussion they touched on the blood disease outbreak in World of Warcraft a few years back, and how these virtual worlds might shed some light on human behavior in the real world. It is a very good podcast, and well worth a download and a listen.