22 March, 2007
Speculations on the Future of Second Life
It’s full-on springtime in Atlanta, meaning the tulip trees and redbuds and fruit trees are in full bloom and the azaleas are getting ready to pop. The highs are climbing toward the eighties and the nights are cool and the pollen count is passing 1300. Pine pollen coats the cars and houses.
So naturally a girl’s thoughts tend to gravitate toward Second Life.
I am by nature a late going-to-bedder and subsequently a late riser, and my report-to-work time of noon (11 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays) serves to reinforce this. Today, however, I woke at seven a.m. and was ready to begin my day.
I jumped on the grid and found my friend from Down Under, Boofhead Oh, online, and I teleported him over for some assorted and sundry fun (bouncing on a trampoline, riding a flying carpet, spinning around in circles on a prim, shooting myself out of a cannon). As we played, we talked.
Boof is new to Second Life and astounded by it. We talked about that, and about SL’s limitations, and about its future. It was a nice early-morning exercise, much nicer than trying to lay rail track that won’t derail my little steam engine.
Our conversation, and my subsequent ride to work, has led me to put into print some predictions about the future of Second Life, to wit:
June, 2007. Speech makes its debut in Second Life and there is a system-wide crash. Speech disappears. A lot of people are happy. Local water is still disappearing.
November, 2007. After several abortive introductions, SL speech finally works, after a fashion. The Second Life stock market takes a beating as SL escort stocks plummet. Seventeen avatars commit suicide, but of course in SL suicide only teleports you home. Local water is still disappearing.
July, 2008. Linden Lab becomes a publicly-held company. An assassination attempt is made on Philip Linden’s avatar. Local water is still disappearing.
December, 2008. The new Class 19 simulators have a land size of 2048 x 2048 square meters. Local water is still disappearing. As a result of a real-world media campaign to entice females, or at least males who can sound like females, onto the grid, escort stocks have slowly climbed to pre-crash levels. Non-speaking out-of-work escorts still claim loudly (by typing in Capitals) that they are NOT male. Did I mention local water is disappearing?
April, 2009. As a result of increased processor size, prim limits are for all practical purposes abolished. Rioting breaks out in Dreamland when Ansche Chung keeps prim limits on her land at original limits and begins selling “prim rights.” Linden Lab announces that the problem with local water is fixed. It isn’t.
June, 2009. A poll of Second Life residents reveals that ninety percent take SL portable on the iPod and other media players. “Now I can script even in the loo,” opines one avatar. Almost forty percent reveal they are sometimes on the grid even while driving. Local water? Disappearing.
March, 2010. Citizens online surpasses 250,000. Local water is still disappearing.
July, 2010. Members of the group Furever reveal they are not humans playing animals, but animals playing animals. In response several human avs claim they are animals playing human.
December, 2011. At a town hall meeting, new citizens express disbelief that there was once a limit on the number of prims.
October, 2012. In a surprise coup, Second Life citizens take over the grid. They are jubilant until someone points out that they neglected to take control of the actual simulators. Linden Lab re-establishes control with a rolling reboot.
August, 2014. The American Psychiatric Association announces the new diagnostic term SLychosis to describe those who have retreated entirely onto the grid. Curiously, APA chooses to make its announcement on-world rather than off, on Fixation, its private island.
July, 2015. Second Life is renamed The Matrix. Seven billion people climb into umbilical pods filled with goo and switch off their first lives.