"WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?"-
Sean Connery "The Untouchables"
Chapters 6-10 of Levinson's New New Media offered up some of the latest web services in deep discussion than I have ever encountered. Some of the aspects of Podcasting and Second Life as well as the discussions of Web casting offer up some interesting new problems and innovations through our work over the web. Although most of the new new technology discussed is fascinating and enlightening in most of my uses of the media it was Second Life and the use of SIMS that really irk my senses and make me question whether or not to use these technologies at all. The Second Life Avatar technologies are very scary as they seem to blur the users sense of what is real and what is not. Combined with Virtual Reality, I foresee a tremendous amount of privacy issues here. The discussion of online sex through Second Life takes McLuhan's Extension of Man theories to levels that are beyond what I'm working with today. Why a person would want to transform their entire sense of privacy and persona into an internet character/Avatar is unimaginable. Certainly there must be some kind of privacy laws that might incur over the next years into what is safe and what is not real. Using VR with Second Life could lead to some horrible sensory addictions in my opinion and blur what is real and what is virtual with any user. Gone are the days of having to interact with a real person when it becomes so simple to interact with your computer and Avatars that lurk on the internet. It's like sensory overload and you must ask yourself what kinds of people get involved with this at all from the start? I agree with some of the other posts in this blog that online stalking and cyber violence could prevail. You don't hear much about Second Life, Avatars and Sims characters much with current internet users but I have had a friend's son who was not nearly
fourteen years old obsessed with SIMS and Second Life usage. They became isolationists and very irritable children acting out considerably and not paying any attention to their parents requests or authority. These kids became rebels without a clue and ultimately had to be banned from the internet and have their online privileges taken away. It's a very scary Brave New World with SIMS, Avatars and Second Life. Let's hope we find ways to control the new technology and not let it control us. Can't wait to learn more about the dangers that lie ahead. It's time to defend ourselves in an New New Medium world. Brace yourselves....quickly.