Day Seven, The last – Secondlife, Closing forums and Back to Israel October 12, 2008Posted by GuySoft in Hamakor, ITU.
Tags: ITU, secondlife
Hey, here are today’s events:
The panel was pretty typical for this kind of panel where people talk about virtual worlds. However the participating audience was a little different from my experience. First I’ll explain the main phenomena discussed in these worlds – It seems that those worlds are creating job opportunities for 3rd world countries. People there build virtual characters and train them, then sell them to people from the western countries, thus, according to the panel, closing the digital gap, by letting those people participate in the digital economy – at this point it was also shown how the is no difference anymore between a real or virtual economy. In both you have a government/company that “prints” as much money as they want in order to manage the economy, and there are exchange rates for the currency, which means all you valuables in the virtual world can be converted to actual profit and visa versa.
For a change I posed this forum two questions, before I give them I want to stress I am for these virtual worlds. However these statements I gave come to question the benefit of these worlds to 3rd world countries, regarding their financial stability.
The first question, was how these worlds can help these 3rd world countries when as we all know: “1st life comes 1st”, no matter what we do, real bread would always costs more than virtual bread, or any virtual asset in that respect. As any other profession I’d be paid more in the real than a virtual world. For example, as a programmer, ‘real” programs would cost more than virtual ones.
The second question was regarding the economical stability of these worlds when the control of them is centred in one server/cluster. Its important since it makes them less able to be real as our world, and that’s the holy grail of virtual worlds after all. When the company that owns those servers goes bankrupt, the world that they hold stops to exist, the citizens just vanish!
Answers to these questions I did not get in the panel, they didn’t even mention them after I said them, as if what I said was a closed issue. So after the forum I went to speak with D. Abrams. I told him that I should have said something like “I think the panel owes me an answer with questions that undermined its basic claim.”
As we went over the question again Abrams said that it is a fact by now that hundreds of thousands of virtual citizens are making real money in these virtual worlds. With this I could not argue (I hope there is no need, he works as a banker in these worlds, so he should know what he is doing). So that was a good answer.
The second answer was less satisfactory, because there is no evidence for it yet. But even before we got there, I had to fix Abrams analogy that virtual worlds are like countries that can rise and fall, because as I said, when a country falls the citizens don’t just poof out of existence. Then he told me that there is a work in progress to get a cross-virtual world system which would be called “the multiverse” and that it would do what I said is required, I guess we would have to wait and see.
BTW, at the start of the forum Abu Saeed said that one of the advantages in the Internet was that there are no real boundaries between countries. He gave a personal example that as a Pakistani has a lot of Israeli friends, although there are no diplomatic relations between Israel and Pakistan. But this does not disturb the personal level to happen on the internet. I actually wanted to catch him after the lecture and become another one of those friends, but I did not get the time because of the former conversation.
After the Secondlife forum we were moved to the closing forum. On the way Haward Williams who I met before was joking “you have no choice, you must go”, and surely, it was a pretty big panel and the formal closing of the talks. Our representatives from Pakistan and the Philippines read the youth forum deceleration.
Following this, Walds Roseman, known as the “mother” of the youth forum told us all to stand up asking us “Did this experience change your life?”, “Do you think you can change the minds of others?”, “Have you made new friends?” and so on, to which everyone replied back “Yes!”. This was however worth our trouble, because after that H. Lewis whom I quoted before came up to the stage and asked all the non-youth fellows to stand up and repeated the questions, showing of course, that this is truly the point in these conferences. The coffee breaks and post-forum talks were much more important than the forum itself. And with the morning I had above, that was much clear to me now.
After the formal closing, there was a formal party. We all felt that nagging feeling that soon we will part and never see each other again. After all the closing talks (and a happy birth day song to the head of the ITU) some VIPs started to dance close to the stage, then on it, then all the youth forum was there with them (this was beginning to be pleasant motif at this point). As the dancing subsided I started saying goodbye to everyone I got hold of in the crowed, since I was in the first batch to the airport. As we left it started raining, it hadn’t rained since we got to Thailand, which added to the cinematic effect.
Our flight back was with the Jordanians, Syrians and Palestinians. Which served as a reminder that we are returning to our local area, and this is where we must implement what we had learnt the past week. I also met Howard yet again in the Airport. On the plane I thought to myself that we were in a place where there was world peace, food suited for princesses, the best and brightest from all over the world, and we had guarding angels called chaperones. Clearly some cultures see that as Heaven.
I hope that all the projects I spoke of here and contacts I collected would create outcomes in Israel, before I fall in to the long and academic venture of studing physics the coming semester, that this won’t be the end, but a beginning.
A longer version for today, enjoy.