Jerry put on a great SL Salon today in the Sci-Fi Museum. The presentation by Keith Halper of Kuma Games was really an eye-opener. I heard his presentation before at the Accelerating Change 2004 conference at Stanford last year, but there was something about the SL context that really brought out the surrealistic aspects of it (not just the soundtrack of real radio traffic, gunfire etc. from warzones that Jerry artfully made available as optional audio). I think it was viewing war through three filters laid on top of each other - the news, the Kuma game and finally Second Life. Kuma's technology seems quite coarse compared to some other games, but if someone rachets it up one day to a fine-grained level and introduces AI, we would seem to be in the area of Nick Bostrom's ancestor simulations. These are an advanced civilization's completely realistic computer simulations of their ancestors. Provided that humans make it to the post-human stage (> 50/50?) and are interested in such simulations (Kuma is evidence of that), the simulations would be copied and re-run so many times (with post-human file-sharing systems) that there would be a very high probability (close to 1) that you and I live in one of them. Perhaps there is some consolation then that EFF can take from the recent Grokster decision, i.e. that it will at least delay the point when this occurs (if it has not occurred already!) I have written a draft of a paper analyzing the ancestor simulation argument in detail. I will post it on SSRN for review and comments later this summer, prior to publication, if you're interested.
Prokofy Neva and I had a long chat after the Salon - he's really a very pleasant fellow one-on-one. Perhaps the fact that we both have Russian backgrounds helped. Anyway, he's on my SL bud list now.
Thanks again Jerry for inviting me as a contributor here and for putting on a thought-provoking Salon this evening. BTW, does anyone know where I can buy a Segway in SL?