Thursday, August 2, 2007

Jaron Lanier Leads Virtual Reality Panel!

At the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit 07 VR was under the miscroscope. Virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (who ran VPL one of the first VR companies) led a panel with Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Labs (Second Life); Irving Wladawksy-Berger of IBM; Chris Sherman, CEO of Gaia Online and Chris Melissinos, chief gaming officer at Sun. The big question was whether virtual worlds would be a real business . “Meetings, learning and training may be killer apps of virtual world." said Lanier. “The money question is like asking in 1995 or 1996, how do you monetize the excitement." "Virtual worlds is the evolution of the Web,” Berger said. “Virtual worlds are critical to adoption of next generation services,” said Chris Melissinos, chief gaming officer at Sun. “This will be a multimillion dollar marketplace across the board.” Rosedale predicted that in ten years virtual world access will be more ubiquitous than Web access. Virtual worlds are spaces with 3D objects require enormous amounts of computation. “The network of machines will be larger than the Web architecture today. Rosedale also noted that content creation is also a viable virtual world business. Residents of Second Life transact more than $1 million a day, and about 40,000 residents are cash flow positive, he said. Lanier pronounced that “civility is the killer app of virtual worlds.” Rosedale added that virtual worlds are appealing for the future for humanity because they have the potential to bring a more balanced offense and defense, whereas the real world moves people closer to a larger radius of damage…like wars. Lanier concluded the panel predicting that in 25 years the technology will be so good there will be no IBM or manufacturing jobs and that buying and selling goods in the virtual world will save civilization. Nice to see VR being talked about.. it's coming is inevitable!

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