I finally got around to listening to a podcast of Jaron Lanier chatting with Andrew Keen. Jaron speaks about the theory and practice of virtual reality (an expression he coined), Second Life (to whom he serves as a science advisor), his recent essay Digital Maoism and Artificial Intelligence (AI). If you are hearing Jaron’s name for the first time I recommend tuning into some of his ideas shared on his website. He is one of the great thinkers of our time and like many of his predecessors embraces both the arts and sciences. While I do not always share his world view I am always the wiser for having taken the time to listen to what Jaron has to say.
One of the areas which has held much promise since the dawn of the Internet has been the field of data visualization. Four SL related posts caught my eye on data visualization. The first by Aimee Weber giving a sneak preview of the soon to be launched NOAA 3D weather visualization. The second by Andrew Burton sharing his hack for running presentations in SL to which Mitzpatrick Fitzsimmons posted a better alternative by way of a comment. The third by Akela Talamasca announcing Virtual Reality Networks (VRN) launch of Second Life News. The fourth was by Tao Takashi summarizing lessons learned from streaming a RL conference into SL. Each served to remind me how virtual worlds are still in their infancy and that we have only just begun to scratch the surface in exploring and re-imagining their potential.