Monday, June 30, 2008

Darklight Festival Panel - Future of the Web

Had a very nice time Friday at the Darklight film festival in Dublin. I was invited to sit on a panel discussing the future of the web, web 3.0, and whatever that means.

Axel Polleres, a colleague from here at DERI, came with me and sat on the panel as well. We had quite a lively discussion, including a digression with Chris Howard of IBM on virtual reality, the emerging 3D Internet, and my own notion that virtual reality and true reality will begin to merge in both perception and importance for our children or grand children.

The audience seemed to mostly be creatives who were either filmmakers, film aficionados, or film students. things began to get a bit lively when I mentioned that I thought one of the effects of ubiquitous, pervasive and highly realistic virtual worlds would be that gender would become fluid; people would choose their genders on both sides of the virtual divide based on whim and how they wanted to be perceived.

After our discussion, which ran about 30 minutes longer than it was supposed to, I was interviewed by ( ). Don't know when it will appear on the web site but it should be soon. The interviewer had to do some editing because it took him four tries to get his intro recorded cleanly.

I think the one thing that came clear in the discussion is that the technology is not all that important. there is a certain inevitability about improved graphics, deeper immersion, easier access, and everywhere connectivity. The true challenge is in assessing the impact of such social connectivity on our culture and ultimately on our species. The changes that this level of real immersion into virtual realities can bring about are dramatic.

All in all a nice day