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Group Overview

Places & Times

Members:

  • Bridget Smith (Frappe Lapointe) [mbridgetsmith@hotmail.com]
  • Brien Walton (Blaise Syaka)
  • Esmond Kane (Pere Utu)
  • William James (USA Brody)
  • Yvette Wohn (Yvette Kumsung)

Assignment: Interview a SL personality

Due Monday (Oct 9) at 10:55 EST (Assignment in Moodle)

Anyone know if this is a group Assignment?

Yes. Sign up for an Interviewee here

Project Discussion

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061019

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061026

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061102

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061109

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061116

Thursday 7pm Chatlog 20061130

Friday 7pm Chatlog 20061201

EDITED VERSION OF ESSAY

Also see Topics and Thesis discussion here

Project Thesis

Thesis candidates

  • The integration of Voice in SL can result in varying degrees of discrimination against the residents, and this project will address issues regarding the impact of Voice on the social network.
  • Ceding development to 3rd party voice tools and developers, cedes control over the content and introduces the risk of censorship and limits on expression. Linden must develop voice in-house with the same participatory, optional limitations used in the existing modes of expression.
  • Linden must NOT impose their Western morality on the implementation of Voice in SL. Voice is a multi-cultural, international and liberating technology which must be implemented within the cultural and moral confines of the home country. This development is best left to 3rd parties in a similar manner to the existing cultural grids.
  • Voice is a boundary shattering introduction to Second Life. Anyone who can speak and use a joystick has as much a right to participate in SL as the texting, literate, educated minority. Linden must not only encourage the rapid, accelerated development of Voice but also the development of translation engines in SL to embrace the developing world and encourage communication across borders and cultures.

Project Podcasts

Our podcasts are up here

Project Topics

Topics candidates

Heed Typers When Voice Comes

Hypothesis: Voice is coming to SL and will bring new capabilities

Problem: Discrimination of typers in type-voice coexsiting environment

1.Typers are slower, making it more difficult to fit into conversations
2.Voice users may feel annoyed by chat windows, or get used to minimizing the window
3.Clash of typing sounds with voice

Why should we think of protecting the rights of typers?

1. May not be able to speak (mute, soar throat)
2. Situation where you cannot use voice (office)
3. Personal reasons (Don't like sound of voice/doesn't suit identity of avatar/want to keep level of privacy/stutter,lisp, accent)
4. Multitasking (chat while listening to music, etc.)
5. Efficiency in certain situations(Group chats, lectures)

Questions to Ask Ourselves

1. Who should be given the right to decide whether the zone is voice, text, or voice-text?
2. How can we create awareness?
3. Are we calling for technical attention from Linden or social attention from residents?

Solution/Action: "Heed Typers" Campaign?

Presentation Method Ideas:

1. Create rooms with streaming audio boxes.
2. Create machinima

Project Responsibilities

Real Name SL Name Introduction For Against Conclusion Machinima
Esmond Kane Pere Utu Yes
Bridget Smith Frappe Lapointe Yes
William James USA Brody Yes
Brian Blaise Sydake Yes
Yvette Wohn Yvette Kumsung Yes

Project Deliverables (Tentative)

  • Saturday Dec 2 7pm: Text
  • Sunday Dec 3 7pm: Audio
  • Thursday Dec 8 7pm: Project Draft
  • Tuesday Dec 12 7pm: Project Presentation

Project Script/Detail

Please edit your own section only. It'll get reaaal messy if we all edit the main page. Remember, this is about Voice discrimination and SL!

If you have immediate critique to make, use the wiki and preface/close your deletes (/del></del> or inserts .

Please sign in and mark your signature in brackets after a change (--~~~~) or just use your name e.g. (Esmond)

Outline

Esmond

Freedom of Speech, Swearing, Accents, Pitch, Cultural (Ebonics etc), Disabilities (Stutter, Lisp), SL vs RL (Gender, Voice Fonts), Foreign Languages, Crosstalk ,Latency, Text = Oration style

we are arguing for the choice of the avatar to be able to toggle voice integration

Intro:
  • Scence setting
  • Mention of broad possibilities for discussion
  • narrow focus
  • thesis
Intro: Draft

Full Audio available [here] (3:30 minutes)

New technology and the new media marketplace of the 21st century, have greatly changed the nature of information exchange and the very framework for Human communication. Cave paintings, stone and paper etchings, wax and clay records are now mere nano-scale metal etchings, polarised atoms, insubstantial radio waves, beams of light, electrons, even Quantum signatures on the border of Scientific research. We stand on the precipice of a convergence of all Human communication into a single datastream, the development of an Electronic Human network. (Singularity?) [Audio]: 37 seconds

The Older communication frameworks, favoured systems of proxies, designated champions and sporadic polls. The greater populace was excluded from meaningful participation in issues of commonality, the grand Economic, Political, Scientific, Religious debates, the Historical and Educational scholarly imperatives. It simply was not technically or administratively possible to include a large population in expansive dialogue when using the older frameworks. Technology has lowered the barrier to communicate and participate, now the greater populace, the everyday actors, participate in the recording of thought, the dialogue, discussion, the narration, negotiation, the persuasion, compromise and consensus, Human communication in all its facets is no longer the preserve or the arena of an elite minority. [Audio]: 50 Seconds

Massively Multiplayer Online Realities are one tool in the new communication framework. MMO's are technology showcases which emulate the physical presence and proximity of the participants by simulating each individual and a shared reality on are computer. These communities are vast forums for social networking and experimentation in culture and perception. Politics, Religion, Culture, Society, all the greater issues are emulated and the core principals modified and new concepts tested as the participants "play" with the boundaries of reality and society. [Audio]: 32 Seconds

In one such MMO, Second Life, despite the effort spent on implementing the “virtual reality”, communication is still based on the older framework. The visual aspects of the simulation have been prioritized in the development and dialogue has been relegated to a linear textual chat system seen in older communication systens. In essence, SL avatars are still etching thought onto a virtual clay or wax tablet when they type on a keyboard. The community has learned to adapt to the limits of the system but it cannot last. The introduction of Voice into Second Life will be another paradigm shift in communications technology. [Audio]: 40 Seconds

The emphasis on text chat in SL has facilitated the growth of the community to date but also impeded wider adoption by the non-technical or non-literate. Voice is a bridging technology and dictates that certain social and technical measures are implemented before it is widely adopted. SL must not discriminate against the members of the community who chose to communicate textually and we must not discriminate against those who choose to use voice. Second Life is not Reality, the participants in the community agree on what form their Reality takes, they opt-in to societal constraints. Similarly they must be able to toggle voice integration on demand and "play" with their voice technology and concpets. We must not encourage divisive tiers in Second Life built around text and voice or insist that the Real Life concerns are echoed in Virtual Reality ... [Audio]: 41 Seconds

Misc:
We encourage Linden to implement text to speech synthesis and the reverse. Voice cannot discriminate, it must bridge the divide.
In Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in London. Members of the public can wax lyrical without fear of Legal Repercussions and without any guarantee of a receptive audience. Voice in Second Life must be similarly enshrined as a Free Speech Zone.

Bridget
For: why voice is not discriminatory or it doesnt matter
  • - Helps those that can not read and/or type.
  • -
  • -
  • -
Intro: Draft

Please feel free to edit!

Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are an exciting new horizon for you and your avatar to meet new people, listen to new music, take an online class, and many other things that you may not have imagined. Everything I am about to say or type from this point on, is why having voice capabilities can add and bring a new element to Second Life. Having Voice integrated into to second life will allow a user that can not type to take part in this really cool world. With that said, I am not saying we should only have voice available; you should be able to choose. Maybe you do not like you voice; if you could alter it slightly would you not like to be able to speak to someone you meet? That is of course if you are on the up & up and not a deviant of society.

There are many groups in Second Life using 3rd party products to speak to each other, but I think it would be much better to have something that is completely integrated, so that you do not have to have that 3rd party product downloaded. If this does happen, it should be up to the land owner as to where the voice modules are located and the Linden’s will need to set some of the rules in place if they are not going to push the cost back on the end user (avatar). After all we must be careful as not to hurt anyone in the process of allows voice integration. Of course this is another whole topic we could write or speak about for hours.

My thought process around having voice is very simple, it will allow those that do not like typing to use voice as a way to get their message out but also still have the ability to write the words they need to say. If for example I was dyslexic I would want to be able to speak to a new friend, and it would be the new friend’s choice as to whether they wanted to speak to with me. After all I do not want to force my words on anyone. You would also be to set up voice chat group but also keep your typing chat groups separate. That of course is if voice actually works that way.

If I did not have use of my hand, again I would have a hard time using this great social networking world to meet new people and be involved in new, exciting events. I would to have voice. I have a family member that has CP; he does not have use of his right hand and has a hard time with video games. I had him try a third party voice product in Second Life, showing him where to go to se how he liked it. Were talking through the virtual world and he loved it. Of course he would like to see this in his MMOG’s like EVE, which is happening now thanks to the same third party company.

It is really important for the Linden’s to think about adding voice, having it working for all groups, all computer types but also set up some type of guideline for use. It would be great to have a young adult’s area, an adult area, an education area and anything else that can be thought of so that avatars can try using it. It is current possible for end user to try voice with a third part application, but I think they should try to integrate now, so enough people get to use it and than they will know if it work or not.

On the side of caution, and again I am for voice, the choice has to be given to the end user. In some cases it may not be appropriate for voice to be available, or it may get confusing if some are using chat and others are using voice. I think we can coexist in this environment together and make Second Life and even better place to be with more tools at our avatars finger tips. So, this is a plea, a plea for voice. A plea to add voice to second life without hurting anyone else or taking away from those that want to type.

Audio available [here] 3:52 minutes)

William

[NOTE FROM YVETTE (12/6 2p.m. EST): WILLIAM, PLEASE UPLOAD YOUR AUDIO ASAP. I CAN'T BE ON STANDBY 24-7.][NO PROBLEM - I AM HAVING SOME TECHNICAL PROBLEMS WITH MY SOUNDCARD AND MICROPHONE - AS DISCUSSED IN OUR MEETING I WILL HAVE MY FINAL VERSIONS OF EVERYTHING IN BY THE EIGHT OF DECEMBER OR SOONER][IN THE MEANTIME I AM WORKING ON EDITING A FINAL DRAFT] ++William++ Sorry for the delay, but I did not have internet access on Saturday. I tried to frame the part of my argument to feed off of Yvette's part and lead nicely to a conclusion. After the conclusion is submitted I will do a full edit of the entire essay and create a style and voice that is consistent with our argument and post it for peer review.

PS. Awesome Job Gang!

======Against: why text is less discriminatory====== Full audio[[1]]

  • -
  • -
  • -

The plea for voice is the smudge of a fingerprint on the lens that distorts the vista for a sensible individual to see the negative impacts of voice integration in Second Life. The integration of voice in Second Life is a nuisance in disguise, but primarily to the impoverished. To what degree the Second Life community fully appreciates the negative influence to the penniless is yet to come. However, computer networks that support voice over internet protocol and local area network gaming simultaneously need vast resources to operate properly. Let alone a new computer with the graphic needed to do both. The impact of the voice integration is only going to affect those who cannot afford these technologies.

Imagine a world where the virtual social normality is serene and peaceful with nothing other than the sounds of the keyboard and the avatar. A world where the destitute can afford to participate freely and type thoughts not normally expressed in everyday indigent life. Now take that picture, and tell the needy to buy a new computer that is capable of using the new Second Life voice integration. The picture of serenity for the indigent looking to escape the life of poverty from time to time then turns to that world recognized so well – exclusion. Excluded by class, and similar to that of real life where the poor are historically seen as less than human would follow them right into the virtual world they use to escape this evil of humanism.

Brien
Summary and Conclusion
  • 'give us the choice'
  • "it is open for all to decide what they want ot choose"

Hello team, I thought it might help everyone formalize their thoughts if I provided you with a contextual basis derived from the draft intro. In theory, the conclusion will support the premise of the introduction by distilling the issues from the arguments - proving or disproving each - and then explaining why the intro position was successfully defended. The following is an initial draft of where I'm heading and as we fill-in the arguments on both sides, I'll re-word the conclusion to be an emphatic support of what we want. Bridget and William: if I come accross any research on either side, I'll email you the links so that you integrate them too.


Draft conclusion, so everyone can see where this is heading...[revised 12-6-06 1:14pm EST] Audio available [here] 7:39 minutes)


Given the above discussion, it is interesting to note that Vivox, one company that is currently negotiating with Linden labs regarding voice integration into Second Life, states on their website that “85% of MMOG players regularly communicate outside of the game with people they play [regarding] game related issues [like] scheduling, advice/support, small talk.” (http://www.vivox.com/products_services_gaming.php) The integration of voice into the Second Life environment would allow that 85% to communicate inside the game and this presents concurrent advantages and disadvantages for its residents that are not mutually exclusive. We started our discussion by noting the progress that has been made by using massively multiplayer online realities as a medium to facilitate social networking. The traditional communication network was through the exclusive use of text messaging, which given the current state of technology, is akin to etchings on earthen clay tablet. With over 1.3 million residents in Second Life and more than half of that number being registrants from outside of the United States, according to the November 13, 2006, Wall Street Journal (citation omitted), we believe the integration of voice would better enable the social networking to keep pace with the population growth.

For example, it is not currently possible in Second Life to conduct discussions in any other language aside from English, but with the ability to bypass text messaging, and integrate an auditory component that is not limited by text recognition coding, more residents would be able to interact, and thus enhance the network. In addition to the global benefit from the integration of voice, it would also facilitate greater ease-of-use by residents who are less literate, non-technical, or merely slow typers. It can also be argued that since Second Life is not reality, but merely virtual-reality, where residents make a choice of whether to register their citizenship, that the "opt-in" nature of avatar registration mandates a choice be presented to residents of whether to use text, or voice.

Opponents of voice integration argue that the current state of the technology creates huge server-side demands that could crash the system, the transitions between voice and non-voice zones can be abrupt and disconcerting, and the quality of the voice is similar to a mobile phone, often static-laden. These of course, do not make for the best interactive experience, but they are all correctable, and should improve with time. The merits behind the principle of why voice technology should be integrated however are not outweighed by the above demerits. Some residents are also concerned about the potential costs of voice integration, but Linden labs has been very successful in raising money over the past three years from investors - a total of $18 million in venture capital has been raised - $8 million in October 2004, and $11 million earlier this year in March 2006. As indicated in a CNET article in March 2006 (http://news.com.com/Second+Life+scores+11+million+in+funding/2100-1043_3-6054598.html), some of the investors are also major players in the tech industry with very deep pockets in the billions of dollars range - like Globespan Capital Partners, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Lotus founder Mitch Kapor, the Omidyar Network, and Catamount Ventures.

Assuming that the Linden Labs' financial partners have resolved how voice integration would be funded, it is our position that voice should be made available to all residents, and that residents have the option as to whether they will use text, voice, or a combination of both in their interaction. This will allow voice technology to be a medium that is better able to facilitate global interaction, rather than exclude non-English speaking or nonliterate members of the global community.

From this basis, the key social issue to be resolved is who will set the standards for how voice technology is adapted to the environment. Our concern is that the integration of voice may create an environment through which certain members of the community may be discriminated against as a result of their accent, vocabulary, or the existence of speech impediments. Conversely, there may be discrimination in the form of exclusion for those who are not computer savvy or literate in English, as they may be discouraged from full involvement. As indicated by our earlier discussion, we have resolved this issue through our findings that several of the largest software companies in the world recognize that the integration of voice technology into their products is the next stage of software evolution. For example, Google CEO Eric Schmidt noted in the book “The World is Flat”, that even Google believes that its current lack of voice integration is somewhat discriminatory. On page 153 of the book, he states "we do discriminate [but] only to the degree that if you can't use a computer or don't have access to one, you can't use Google…” He goes on to indicate that the Google feels that the best way to prevent that discriminatory treatment in this area, is through the integration of voice technology that would allow searches without any pre-existing knowledge of computer usage or instruction manuals.

Based upon that insight, our group also sees that the integration of voice technology will not only allow residents to interact, but could also allow better control of the avatars’ appearance, gestures and behavior, since words and actions would be more synchronized, and thus more realistic – which is the ultimate objective of “virtual reality”. As noted in Raph Koster’s “A Declaration of the Rights of Avatars” (http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/playerrights.shtml) – communication and the ability to be able to communicate in manner that is inherently human, is a foundational principle of what it means to be resident in a virtual reality environment - our group supports this view. In conclusion, although there are some disadvantages to the integration of voice technology, it should definitely be integrated into Second Life, and codes of conduct established either by consensus, or a representative group, in order to ensure that all residents not only have access to the technology, but will have clear guidance on how the technology can be used, without infringing upon the rights of other voice users, or residents who prefer to type.

Yvette

Currently doing pre-edit with intro and Frappe's piece. Filming will take too much time. Compensating with editing stills. Open to suggestions for background music. Bought a Plantronics mike and will be able to participate in Skype conversations. [Yvette: 1213 09:49 EST]

View Final here:

Intro: [[2]]
For: [[3]]