Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 7 June 2007

'Second Lives' - radio adaptation review

I've been listening to a radio adaptation (Radio4 9.45am - FM only) every morning this week - there is one more episode tomorrow - of a novel by Tim Guest called Second Lives and have found it a fascinating glimpse into a 'world' I know very little about, even if I've heard of the Second Life eponymous website; apparently there are many other similar websites. In any case I've just ordered a copy through Amazon here. Also available through the RadioTimes website here (main access page here), although it is cheaper at Amazon.

So far this week I've been taken through:
- nine cerebral palsy sufferers inhabiting one body to 'experience a life they could only dream of in the real world' (text from RadioTimes article);
- a trip in a hot air balloon to se what this new life has to offer ( - ibid - );
- as the economies of the virtual world have grown so has the demand for an "online mafia" ( - ibid - );
- with developments in computer technology, the American miltary have adopted the concept of virtual worlds for their own practical purposes ( - ibid - ).

Tomorrow we are promised:
- some of the world's largest corporations are seeing new business opportunities within the online craze, and are keen to establish their presence on the other side of the electronic looking-glass ( - ibid - ).

I have found it so far to be a fascinating, possibly frightening, glimpse into a completely new kind of world and I hope that by getting the book I will be able to understand it all a little bit better. I did look at the Second Life website a few months ago, with a few to setting up a profile for myself there, but so far haven't taken the plunge. I suspect, however, that this kind of thing is not going to go away and may eventually come to have a pretty direct influence on how we all (at least in the richer countires) live our lives; maybe the kind of existence imagined in the Matrix films might eventually come about, even if I hope it won't arise from such malign influences - although the attacks on our own personal freedoms by our own governments in the past few years in the guise of combatting terrorism leave me a lot less than sanguine.

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