- On 9/12/06, Rebecca MacKinnon wrote:
I've linked to all of the blog posts by Ethan and Andy that I brought up today in my recent post on joining Second Life here:
- From Rodica, aka
It seems that scientists are starting to get proof of your conclusion that we cannot escape our human-ness:
but I still believe in Prof. Nesson's ideas from the BB keynote speech -- most people will choose to gather around something good, if given a choice.
Good talking to you yesterday, Rebecca, both in rl and in SL. I've had a SL residents who were very interested in Global Voices and asked if you were in SL. May I give them your avatar name if they wish to contact you?
- From Rebecca MacKinnon
Thanks Rodica/Ansible. I would like to hope Prof. Nesson is right about human nature. There is a lot of evidence to the contrary in many parts of the (offline) world these days, I'm afraid, which is quite depressing. Lots of people doing nasty things to each other when given the choice. Of course it's more complicated than that.. but bottom line, I believe the internet is a tool for doing incredible amounts of good, but if we expect that it will change human nature for the better, our plans based on such expectations might be hijacked by very nasty people - much as Marx's visions were hijacked by Stalin and Mao, who were very good at manipulating idealists for their own ends. One reason the U.S. system of law and government functions better than most (albeit very imperfectly) in ensuring rights of individuals is that our system is very realistic about protecting ourselves from ourselves.
But anyway, I digress. Yes please do feel free to give out my avatar. SteelJade Yun. My GV co-founder Ethan is extremely skeptical of SL and doesn't feel its a great place for us to be spending our time when much of our community is on dial-up... and the virtual Darfur has really stuck in his craw.. so I kind of doubt you'll see a huge GV presence in SL any time soon, but personally I feel it's important to spend time there, understand what's going on, and also figure out how I can use it as a teaching tool myself. My future students in Hong Kong have excellent bandwith.
Actually speaking of Asia I have another question for somebody in SL.. maybe you might know who can answer. SL's chat client does not support Asian character sets - unlike most IM clients which do these days, even if the interface is in English. Are there any plans to enable Asian character support in SL? One could envision SL as a very interesting gathering place for some Chinese folks I know, who could successfully get onto SL without a Chinese client interface, but would need to be able to use Asian characters in the chat function because their real-time conversational English simply isn't good enough to interact in English. Immediately you would see volunteer translators popping up, I'm willing to wager a fair number of Linden dollars. It would be really cool.
Anyways, I really look forward to staying in touch. There are a number of ideas I'd like to play around with in SL eventually, and I'm sure I'll have questions for you if you have the time.
- From Ansible Berkman
That was an incredibly insightful email and I should have said that I am a great fan of your work with GV. I myself come from Romania, which is a country still on dialup, *if* that. From that perspective, I suppose SL does seem a bit elitist and far-off. Nonetheless, much like the internet itself, technology cannot and will not change human nature. It can only empower and connect. And it does that, obviously, without any moral valance for good or evil. I'd like to think that this class taught by Prof. Nesson will help us think more about the ways we can use it MORE and BETTER for doing good, worthwhile things.
SL, to me at least, is an example of a type of interaction, type of world people would create if they could. It's unfortunate that it's so demanding and restricted technologically, but it's very likely that soon something like Google earth, based on a browser and Java, would take on their model and ideas and create a product that can reach farther and deeper.
I'll look into answering your question about Asian characters once I hunt down a couple of people I know who connect from China.
Talk to you soon and thanks for your blog post on the class :)