Outline • Virtual Reality • Virtual World • Second Life • Pros & Cons • How Second life Affects Real Life • Are we ready to live in a Virtual World?
Virtual Reality • Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful technique that uses computer representations to transform people's sense of presence, so that they feel themselves to be in a virtual environment rather their current one. • This presence-transforming function enables people's environments to be precisely manipulated in a way that is not possible in the psychological laboratory or the everyday world.
Virtual Reality • Virtual reality(VR) refers to computer-simulated environments that look, feel, sound and sometimes even smell like the real thing. As technology advances, virtual life becomes increasingly more lifelike and is applied across a broader range of fields from entertainment to medical therapeutics.
Virtual World • The emergence of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, has resulted in new ways and channels for people to communicate and collaborate. • The graphical, three-dimensional technology of Virtual World create a new stage of collaboration, communication with an even higher level of interaction and complexity.
Virtual World • A persistent online environment that allows users to interact with one another and an artificial world through an agent in that world. The online part allows user with Internet access to log on to the Virtual World from any location. • The persistent part means the world continues to exist as a single instance whether a specific individual is logged on to the system. This means that while you are logged out of a virtual world, no one will see you but activity will go on around you and you will be in the same place you where when you log back on.
Virtual World • In 2008, the Association of Virtual Worlds listed 250 Virtual Worlds, and the Gartner Group estimated that by 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users will be using Virtual World (Frank 2008, 2).
Virtual World • There are basically two types of Virtual Worlds • role playing worlds • social worlds
role playing worlds • Entertainment or gaming is probably the most well known type of Virtual World • The largest and most well known is the World of WarCraft.
Social worlds • Social Worlds or communities exist more for meeting and sharing information, and to experience things and places. • Examples of social worlds are Active Worlds, Second Life and Smallworlds.
Virtual World Applications • Three applications that can exist within a social world: (Wikipedia) • Medical • Commercial • Education
Medical • Healthcare agencies offer information on a variety of illnesses, conditions and addictions in the Virtual World of Second Life. • The disabled can experience freedom by temporarily leaving their disabilities and doing things, through their avatars, like walking , fishing , exploring and other physical activities. • Virtual Ability is a hugely popular area within Second Life that provides support, information and activities for people of all disabilities.
Commercial • Companies and organizations have established commercial worlds as a new form of advertising • Virtual Worlds allow companies the opportunity to learn customer reaction to new products
Education • Educational opportunities are thriving in Virtual World. Universities have established locations in Virtual Worlds – either entire campuses or simple classrooms. More classes are conducted in Virtual World environment.
Second Life • Second Life is probably the most well known and largest social Virtual World today. • It was created by Linden Labs and open to the public in 2003 (Frank 2008, 1). • It had an early reputation as being mainly a place to play. Collaborative work, information sharing, and learning activities have become more popular and taken over as the major activities in Second Life.
Second Life • There are many arguments as to the number of people who have avatars in Second Life, but at any time there are between 35-50,000 avatars online. (Frank 2008, 2) • According to a 2007 item in Second Life Reuters , 54 percent of users were from Europe with nlyaround 31 percent from the Unites States (Frank 20o08, 2) • The average self‐reported age of Second Life users is 33, with 11.5% of users over 45 (Frank 2008, 2). • Communication can be voice or chat and can be public, or private
Virtual Reality - Pros & Cons • Pros • VR is imaginably more personal than electronic mail or instant messaging, or even a letter or a telephone call • VR is a great social leveler, it may find a common ground across differences in age, culture, and linguistic orientation (Biocca and Levy 1995) • people will be drawn together by similar interests instead of purely by geographic location (Biocca and Levy 1995) • communication will be both challenging and rewarding, more effective and productive, and thus more enjoyable (Biocca and Levy 1995)
Virtual Reality - Pros • a tremendous opportunity for every 'connected' person to find his or her field and/or discipline (Biocca and Levy 1995) • after using a medium that provides total freedom of expression face-to-face communication may be found to be too confining (Cartwright 1994)
Virtual Reality - Pros • When applied to therapeutics, augmented reality can allow people with disabilities to experience places and tasks that are otherwise unavailable to them. A person in a wheelchair can play a basketball game with the aid of virtual reality games. A person undergoing psychotherapy to confront a past event can do so safely in a virtual reality world without the fear of physical harm.
Virtual Reality - Pros • The advantages of virtual reality extend to the realms of design and architecture. Computer-aided design allows architects to build and envision a structure to eliminate any potential problems before money is spent actualizing the design. Fashion designers can put together fantastic creations and see how they move and look before mass-manufacturing their collection. Those who design safety features such as emergency exits or rescue equipment can see their designs in play without having to manufacture a prototype and conduct costly testing.
Virtual Reality - Pros • Learning how to react to any given situation, especially a life-or-death situation, is one of the prime advantages of virtual reality. Military exercises performed in a virtual reality environment save lives. Exercises designed to train military personnel allow service members to experience a high-pressure situation without the threat of danger or death. These exercises can be performed over and over again until the person feels comfortable and confident in that situation, a scenario that is improbable and not feasible when engaging in real-life training exercises.
Virtual Reality - Pros • Productivity also benefits from virtual reality. “Telepresence” refers to a type of technology that allows a person to feel as if he or she were present in another location. Used in the business world as a form of telecommunications, telepresence allows a person to conduct intimate business transactions in all corners of the world without ever leaving his place of residence.
Virtual Reality - Pros • It is great social way, users may find a common interests across the world • Communication and learning will be more effective, productive, and more enjoyable. • It enables users to interface with each other using a three dimensional environment through sight, sound, and touch. • It will improve some users’ skills without causing any mistakes in real world. • It helps patients recover from strokes, phobias and other illnesses.
Virtual Reality - Cons • Cons • an inescapable aspect of social life is the formation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships (Biocca and Levy 1995) • interaction ought not be substituted for community (Mayer 1999)
Virtual Reality - Cons • VR will provide a communication environment in which the dangers of deception and the benefits of creativity are amplified beyond the levels that humans currently experience in their interpersonal interactions. (Biocca and Levy 1995) • could lead to low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness and insignificance, even self-destructive acts.
Virtual Reality - Cons • One of the largest disadvantages of virtual reality is that the technology required for an immersive or natural experience has remained elusive.
Virtual Reality - Cons • Even the most basic virtual reality hardware and software highlights another of the disadvantages of virtual reality, namely the cost. Any system that attempts to provide an immersive experience requires some type of display that will try to fool the human senses. These systems are very costly and can be problematic to use, largely because so few people have the technical knowledge to repair or maintain them. Additionally, most virtual reality systems are not readily interchangeable with different hardware, increasing the cost and reducing the long-term value of an initial investment in such a system.
Virtual Reality - Cons • Socially, some of the disadvantages of virtual reality as entertainment have already started to surface, even without an experience that fully removes a person from his or her surrounding stimuli. One issue is social isolation, in which the user of virtual reality relies more on interactions that take place in a virtual world than on experiences in the real world. This lack of true, physical interaction has the potential to create incorrect associations that are not part of real social settings. The isolation could eventually cause depression, disassociation and other conditions, if it is severe enough.
Virtual Reality - Cons • Another of the possible psychological and social disadvantages of virtual reality is desensitization. If some users were to use virtual reality for entertainment extensively, then they could run the risk of failing to recognize the true consequences for actions in which they are taking part or are viewing. When translated to the real world, in an extreme case, this could cause a lack of understanding of the effects of some actions when performed outside the virtual environment.
Virtual Reality - Cons • It will decrease human interaction in the real world. • The cost of creating a virtual reality system is too high. • Training with a VR environment does not have the same results as training in the real world. • Programmers are still grappling with how to interact with virtual environment • If the virtual environment became much higher quality, they will become attractive to those wishing to escape real life.
How Second life affects real life • Research being done at Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) • Jeremy Bailenson, head of the lab and an assistant professor of communication at Stanford, studies the way self-perception affects behavior. No surprise that what we think about ourselves affects the confidence with which we approach the world. What is a surprise is that this applies in the virtual world too.
How Second life Affects Real Life • Bailenson's research suggests that the qualities you acquire online — whether it's confidence or insecurity — can spill over and change your conduct in the real world, often without your awareness. Bailenson has found that even 90 seconds spent chatting it up with avatars is enough to elicit behavioral changes offline — at least in the short term. "When we cloak ourselves in avatars, it subtly alters the manner in which we behave," says Bailenson. "It's about self-perception and self-confidence.”
How Second life Affects Real Life • In one experiment, published in Human Communication Research last year, researchers assessed how an avatar's attractiveness affected human behavior, both online and off. Overall, subjects using good-looking avatars tended to display more confidence, friendliness and extroversion, just as in the real world
How Second life Affects Real Life • Virtual behavior may even affect real-world health. Randomly assigned avatars to 75 volunteers and divided them into three groups: one group watched their look-alike avatars run on treadmills for about five and a half minutes; another group saw their virtual counterparts lounge around; and a third watched avatars who did not look like them, but were of the same age and gender, run on treadmills. A day later, they found that participants who watched avatars of their own likeness exercising had themselves exercised an hour more in the intervening 24-hour period than people in the other two groups
Are we ready to live in a virtual world • Are you really ready to live in a virtual, digitized world?