The Virtual World vs the Real World

Author: Brad Howard   Date Posted:21 February 2017 

Within weeks someone became a millionaire on “Second Life” and became an internet superstar with a huge following and highly respected by their peers.

This is a pretty tough assignment that we would think could only happen to those who were extremely lucky or spent a lifetime developing a unique business or product. However, what we need to look closely at is what this story title is all about. Firstly “Second Life” is an online game played by millions around the world where you can buy, sell and lease assets (mainly property) in a virtual online world. The millionaire is not referring to real American, Australian etc dollars, it is referring to a virtual currency that exists only in the game. Although people are playing this game and many like it around the world, the content, items etc in the game are virtual. To those Baby Boomers and Generation Xers (as I am) out there we may see this as very insignificant, irrelevant and frankly a waste of time. In the minds of Gen Y, the Millennials and future generations these virtual games are just as significant, relevant and important as what they spend their time on in real life. In many cases, even more important.

Another example is having thousands of people pay money to pack into a large entertainment venue and watch a music concert which is performed by a computer generated Holograph of a digitally constructed animated singer. Yes, you watch an image of a holograph on stage belt out computer synthesised music. The crowd of people goes wild and begs for more. Watch Hatsune Miku perform in front of lice audience. You can read more abou Hatsune Miku here

A movie I watched recently with my kids with Hugh Jackman in and was made a couple of years ago called “Real Steel” is about real people making robots to fight against each other while the real people cheer, barrack and get emotionally attached to the artificial machines. My kids loved it and thought it was nothing out of the ordinary.

We now have to accept that these virtual worlds, creations, machines are not going to go away but only become more entrenched, commonplace and maybe even more important than the real world to our younger and future generations. Look at every child who gets hold of a smart phone or tablet, the first thing they do is look for a game to play or a youtube video to watch. They are already indicating to us what they are most driven by. Although difficult for the generations who see reality as the “all important” it is paramount that the virtual world must be explored, played with, lived in, created and embraced.

As parents, grandparents uncles and aunties we wouldn’t want to be seen as “completely out of touch with the artificial now” would we?


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