British Telecom’s Lesley Gavin on Virtual Worlds

by Andy Polaine on August 7, 2007

Okay, so the whole Second Life theme is getting rather a good going over on Playpen at the moment. I think I’m probably going to have to stop writing about it because it just drives me mad.

The latest I’ve read is from The Tech Lab by the BBC. The BBC bills this “the world’s leading thinkers giv[ing] a personal view of future technologies”, but it’s not very imaginative so far. The latest is from BT’s Lesley Gavin talking about the integration of virtual worlds in real-life. Here’s the BBC’s pull-quote:

Virtual worlds will also become integrated with real environments. Buildings or public spaces may offer virtual world counterparts.

I really want to believe that large companies like BT are forging ahead with some great innovations, really I do (and I do know that there are some very smart people there), but Gavin’s comments are like someone saying “in the future people will be able to talk to each other via a ‘telephone’”. Second Life already has plenty of virtual world counterparts, most of them lame. Where’s the imagination and innovation here?

What I would much rather be reading about from BT is how they might use their considerable network infrastructure and technical research to deal with issues of traffic management, sustainability, etc., etc. This stuff is in there, just not getting out there. Sadly, this feels very much like the BBC doing the kind of CNN style “world of the future” reporting, which is almost always shallow and out of date. If you’re going to be a futurologist, it helps to know your history.

(Via Experientia)

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