How is Second Life a disruptive technology?
I feel Second Life is a disruptive technology. Second Life was launched in 2003. It allows users to interact with each other through avatars. You become a resident, meet other residents, socialize, participate in activities and even trade and create goods. It has about one million active users. Second Life allows users to take on an identity in which they may fantasize about in real life. I believe this could have some serious, negative effects on some people.
What technology or innovation did it displace?
I feel this technology displaced some of the earlier computer games that allowed you to create equipment and objects. These previous technologies did not include the avatars and realistic interaction that Second Life does. I also believe it may displace many of the social sites our society is currently engaged in online. This fantasy socialization may become more appealing because of the lack of commitment it requires and the control it offers.
How many years do you think Second Life has left before another emerging technology or disruptive technology replaces it?
From the information I have researched online, Second Life has many followers. I believe it will continue to grow. Society today is attracted to the fantasy world it allows without breaking the law or being guilty of doing something wrong. It will be at least ten or fifteen years before another emerging or disruptive technology replaces it.
What are the social benefits of Second Life, and what might be the social implications of virtual worlds in your industry?
Perhaps the attraction for members is a sense of getting by with things, personalities etc. that they may not be able to in our world. This technology takes the user a step beyond “game playing” with X-Box or PlayStation. It expands the engagement you would get in playing PlayStation games and controlling the actions of the games characters. It also takes you a step further in controlling the environment’s sounds. It allows you to create a world outside of yourself and your realistic world.
I have concerns about this engagement placing the user outside of reality. To me, it seems to be a form of drug without drugs. You leave your world without any chemical use. However, this could be seen as a social benefit. It could be a safe alternative for those who wish to escape reality. As with anything in life, one has to be careful not to become obsessed or lose their concept of what is real and what is not. I work with high school students and my view is that it could have negative effects on their socialization. Teens are already withdrawn and distracted within socialization situations. They are engaged with their cell phones and I pads often separated and oblivious to what is going on around them. Additionally, I personally don’t see how anyone could have time to create a second life. I need more time in my real life!