Future Evolution of Virtual Worlds as Communication Environments
Extensive experience creating locations and activities inside virtual worlds provides the basis for contemplating their future. Users of virtual worlds are diverse in their goals for these online environments; for example, immersionists want them to be alternative realities disconnected from real life, whereas augmentationists want them to be communication media supporting real-life activities. As the technology improves, the diversity of virtual worlds will increase along with their significance. Many will incorporate more advanced virtual reality, or serve as major media for long-distance collaboration, or become the venues for futurist social movements. Key issues are how people can create their own virtual worlds, travel across worlds, and experience a variety of multimedia immersive environments. This chapter concludes by noting the view among some computer scientists that future technologies will permit uploading human personalities to artificial intelligence avatars, thereby enhancing human beings and rendering the virtual worlds entirely real.
KeywordsVirtual Reality Virtual World Virtual Reality Environment Second Life Virtual Reality Technology
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