Participants in the Metaverse Roadmap Summit at Stanford Research Institute in May 2006 were asked a series of five questions regarding the future. This page reflects some of the answers to just one of the five questions. We include only the most telling responses out of more than 100 answers, so every participant is not included on every page.
Each page includes brief biographies, brief quotes and links to audio files. The pulled quotes included on the page are short snippets of longer responses. To get each person’s complete remarks in answer to the questions on which he or she provided a response, please click on the accompanying link to listen to or to save each audio file, or you can navigate to the Metaverse 2006 transcript page, which carries a print version of each person’s remarks on the questions. On this page, we collect the most telling responses to this particular question, sharing the comments of 21 of the 25 people interviewed.
“If there is some need we have in everyday life, there is very likely somebody working on a technology to automate that and make that easier … Pick something that you’re having to do over and over, and somebody is working making it easier for you.”
Bridget Agabra, project manager for the Metaverse Roadmap at the Acceleration Studies Foundation, has a background in business and non-profit governance. She previously brought together game designers and researchers as a co-organizer of Ludium1 at Indiana University. She was also profiled as an online player for CNN, Newsweek, & USA Today.
“All of the internet-enabled technologies are migrating to the cell phone … There are some countries where they have skipped over the whole computer-screen-enabled networked technologies and they’re doing it all over the phone.”
Betsy Book is the director of product management at Makena Technologies, creators of the virtual world There. She previously developed co-branded web sites for iVillage, served as the VP of product development for the e-commerce site Flooz.com, and managed large-scale moderation and reporting programs for entertainment industry clients such as AOL, MTV, Showtime, Country Music Television, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. In 2003, she launched Virtual Worlds Review, a web-based guide to social virtual worlds.
“(I see) sort of an extension and deepening of what we have now, which is ubiquitous computing, as we move into wearable computers … We’re going to see different input and output devices. Basically, ubiquitous computing – a mix of the virtual and the real.”
Corey Bridges is co-founder, executive producer and marketing director, the Multiverse Network. He previously worked at Zone Labs, Netflix, Netscape, Borland, and The Discovery Channel. The Multiverse Network is a company aiming to become the world’s leading network of massively multi-player online games (MMOGs) and 3D virtual worlds. Bridges specializes in market creation and growth for new products and has built and launched a number of technology platforms. He has collaborated with tech expert John Dvorak on multiple books.
“The most interesting, the biggest technological change will happen when the billions of people who don’t have access to almost any electronic technology are going to get wireless, satellite, internet laptop computers for only $100.”
Iveta Brigis is the former executive director of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, the non-profit organization that organized the Metaverse Roadmap Summit. She is working on her master’s of business administration at the University of California-Irvine.
“There are remarkable products … that allow you to both watch yourself and record what’s going on around you … what we wear and what we carry keeps track of what’s going on and provides to us something like a TiVo for our life … Another piece I find really important is the emergence of fabrication-based technologies.”
Jamais Cascio, the founder of Open the Future, writes about the intersection of emerging technologies and cultural transformation. In 2003, he co-founded WorldChanging.com. Cascio has spoken about future possibilities around the world, at venues including FuturShow3000 in Bologna, Italy, and the TED 2006 conference. After several years at scenario planning pioneer Global Business Network, he went on to craft scenarios on topics including energy, nuclear proliferation, and sustainable development.
“You could talk to somebody you don’t know from somewhere in the world and make friends with them and learn about them and their background and share experiences with them and even work together toward a common goal and have fun doing it. That’s possible now, and I think that we’ll continue to think of great ways to do that in the future.”
Helen Cheng, assistant product manager for Seriosity, develops enterprise software based on principles of interactive game design. Cheng’s accomplishments include leading a 200-plus-member guild in the online game World of Warcraft, building applications within and for virtual worlds, and contributing to Wired magazine. When she isn’t writing, designing or powergaming she also works as a project director for the Accelerating Studies Foundation, and she helped plan the Metaverse Roadmap Summit. She previously worked at Electronic Arts and MTV Networks.
“The thing that’s going to influence most people’s lives is communication technology one way or another. Whether it’s the internet or cell phones, their ability to stay in touch with the people they want to stay in touch with. And they’re going to have to learn to filter stuff out rather than define things.”
Esther Dyson is editor at large for CNET Networks, where she is responsible for the monthly newsletter Release 1.0 and PC Forum, the high-tech market’s leading annual executive conference. Dyson focuses on emerging technologies, emerging companies and emerging markets. From 1998 to 2000, she was founding chairman of ICANN (the organization responsible for overseeing the Domain Name System). A variety of government officials worldwide turn to her for advice on Internet policy issues. She is a former chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“Well, look out! How would you tell a non-technical person 100 years ago about what automobiles were going to do? … They’d look at you and couldn’t imagine a world like that. All those things are going to go up in the way in which we deal with these new technologies, too.”
Douglas Engelbart is a winner of the National Medal of Technology and an inspiration for most if not all of today’s technology innovators. Among many achievements, he demonstrated the first computer mouse and the first use of a cathode-ray tube to display computer text and graphics, but his biggest contributions, through his Bootstrap Institute and associated efforts, come in his effort to inspire society to use innovation to tackle complex problems in ethical ways.
“There are so many interesting challenges … technology is out-advancing policy changes, and I expect that to continue. People are trying to catch up … The biggest changes that are coming are social as a result of technology, because we all have information with us, and not just communications.”
F. Randall (Randy) Farmer is community strategic analyst for Yahoo!, Inc., developing and supporting online communities, focusing on next-generation identity/privacy, reputation and groups technologies and open APIs. For more than 30 years, he has been designing, building and managing online social media systems and related platform technologies. He co-created one of the first message boards, the first graphical virtual worlds with avatars and virtual currencies, the first online information marketplace, the first fully distributed virtual world platform, the first no-plug-in web session platform, and Yahoo! 360°.
“The greatest insight into it can be gained by playing computer games … It’s really dependent on the imagination and creativity of the designers. We’re trying to build a world where that is the reality. Even though we’ll be in a virtuality, it will be as if we’re not in a game, but that will be our life because we’ll migrate into that kind of a domain.”
Guy Garnett is the director of the Cultural Computing Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where an interdisciplinary group is studying the forthcoming change in social, political, and economic dynamics due to the arrival of synthetic worlds on the 3D internet.
“On the very personal level of people’s own identity, technology in the next 10 years (will be amazing,) as virtual worlds and avatars will allow people to live a far more fulfilling life than in most cases people are able to do in the real world.”
Will Harvey, founder and CEO of IMVU, is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and game programmer. He began in the video game industry when he was just 15 and still in high school. His latest work is with IMVU, an instant-messaging company. He is also the founders of There, Inc., an MMOG company. He studied computer science at Stanford University.
“We are only at the beginning of discovering the implications for a globally connected, participatory, user-created medium. We’re just at the very beginning.”
Daniel James is founder and CEO of Three Rings, a San Francisco developer and operator of massively multi-player online games for the mass-market, casual audience. PUZZLE PIRATES and BANG! HOWDY are popular Three Rings titles. Prior to his work with Three Rings, he consulted on game design, toiled for many years on Middle-earth Online, and co-founded two profitable UK internet startups, Avalon and Sense Internet.
“More convergence of the web into mobile … Everything from the geospatial web and annotation of the real world to constant connectivity – always on, people always knowing where to find you. I think the thing that will freak out everybody is the amount of personal data that is going to be readily available to everybody all the time.”
Raph Koster is a MMORPG designer and the former chief creative officer for Sony Online Entertainment. He joined Origin in 1995 as part of the original Ultima Online team. He also worked with Ultima Online: The Second Age, and served as lead designer for Ultima Online Live (the ongoing service for this online RPG) until 1999. He writes and speaks frequently on online game and community issues, and maintains a popular online website. He wrote the book “A Theory of Fun for Game Design,” published in 2004.
“In my field I really think about pervasive information available with mobile devices, but … programmable nanomaterials are also going to have a huge impact. (These are) molecules that can be operated under computer instruction … so you can program matter to assemble itself in different forms at a molecular level.”
Mike Liebhold is senior researcher at the Institute for the Future,focusing on the implications and technologies of a geospatial web. He previously worked on semantic web frameworks at Intel Labs; as a senior scientist at Apple, where he led an investigation of cartographic and location-based hypermedia.; as CTO for Times Mirror publishing; and as a senior consulting architect at Netscape. He was also a principal investigator for a National Science Foundation project to bring Internet2 broadband IP networks to 70 rural, low-income communities in the U.S.
“It’s the ability to connect to information anytime anywhere. And more than that, to connect to social context – to other people. You will never need to be alone. You will always have the access to a broad group of people, no matter where you are.”
Julian Lombardi, is a director of information technology at Duke University and one of six principal architects of the Croquet Project (along with Alan Kay, David P. Reed, Andreas Raab, David A. Smith, and Mark McCahill). He is a computer scientist known for his work in user interface design and in the design of computer systems that support collaboration between large numbers of users. He began developing computer-supported collaboration systems involving self-optimizing massively multi-user online 3D environments in the mid-1990s.
“Ubiquitous computing and smart materials. The very materials we make our physical world out of are embedded with sensors and actuators and processors, so we can make them do things. We can program them … (We will be) used to inanimate objects being smart objects.”
Bob Moore is a sociologist in the Computing Science Laboratory at PARC and a member of the PlayOn project team. He specializes in the micro-analysis of social interaction and practice in virtual worlds and in real life. In the area of online game research, he examines the mechanics of avatar-mediated interaction as well as shared player practices through screen-capture-video analysis and virtual ethnography. He has conducted video-based ethnographies in a variety of settings including massively multi-player online games, copy shops, and survey research call centers.
“I’m still bullish on Google Earth … to have these living, digital maps of the planet. We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves and the way the world works, and we can … see where the information is coming from, where people are going, how changes in one place affect changes in another.”
Jerry Paffendorf is research director for the Acceleration Studies Foundation. Forward-looking writer, consultant, and project designer. Research interests include digital worlds, reality video games, the metaverse, mirror worlds, public authorship, searchable cities, and the emergence of mapspace.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when people are putting things inside their skin. I met a guy at a conference last week who has RFID tags in his hands … Just having RFID chips like that on us or in us and what’s that going allow us to do … I can’t predict where that’s going.”
Robert Scoble is a technical evangelist for Microsoft and the author of the popular blog, Scobleizer. He has long been known as a prominent advocate of both RSS technology and the Tablet PC. He previously worked as sales support manager at NEC Mobile Solutions and as director of marketing for UserLand Software.
“It’s Web 2.0. The World Wide Web is a virtual collaboration space. It’s actually a worldwide brain … I think if we recognize that then we recognize we’re building something that’s much more elaborate than any technological edifice we’ve ever built before and far more important to the future of humanity.”
John Smart, president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, is a developmental systems theorist. He is president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation a nonprofit community for research, education, consulting, and selected advocacy of communities and technologies of accelerating change. He co-produces the annual Accelerating Change Conference. He is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists, the FBI Futures Working Group, and on the editorial advisory board of Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
“Massive collaboration … Right now we have very narrow bandwidth between users, between people. The scope of that bandwidth is going to grow dramatically to be an absolutely huge amount of information being exchanged between users dynamically as part of their everyday life. In fact, you’ll never not be connected.”
David Smith, the principal architect currently developing Open Croquet is also CTO, for 3Dsolve. He’s been focused for 20 years on interactive 3D and using 3D as a basis for new user environments and entertainment. He created “The Colony,” the very first 3D interactive game and precursor to today’s “first-person shooters” like Quake. He co-founded Red Storm Entertainment with Tom Clancy, and Timeline Computer Entertainment with Michael Crichton. Croquet is the culmination of his work on 3D architectures for complex peer-to-peer environments.
“The ability to involve other senses than vision and hearing is really what would revolutionize social interaction as we know it over the network … Touch and smell and the ability to use those other senses over the internet would absolutely revolutionize long-distance communication as we know it.”
Malcolm Williamson is a geospatial and visualization researcher with the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas. Since 1993 he has pursued research in geo-spatial applications and development and scientific visualization. He works closely with the EAST Initiative to develop new approaches in geospatial and visualization education, leading a team that supports 10,000+ students in approximately 240 schools.
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