Metameets 2009: Terry Thorpe about waves of changes

Terry Thorpe

Terry Thorpe of kohd talks about the utility aspect of virtual worlds but not about the entertainment aspect (e.g. WoW).

His model to think about 3d web is not a tree but „waves of change“. And what’s happening with waves of changes if you look back into human history is that they happen faster and have more impact. This might be an exponential graph. Which is a problem because we tend to think in a linear fashion.

He then shows some recent waves of changes like „green agenda“, „the web“ and so on. These waves might come together to create a tsunami. This will be changing our culture.

Of those waves the most recent is the financial crisis. He also shows different laws like Moore’s laws which shows how everything grows in the future (cpu power, disk storage, bandwidth and so on). The internet growth might follow the same exponential curve.

He then talks about video conferencing and he said that he used TelePresence from Cisco but this is very expensive. People use the cheap version though but that’s more like muppet show and adds no value.

Other signs of a culture change: The average age of gamers (he calls them millenials) is getting older, now at 34, last year 32.

General thing about virtual worlds: It’s technical possible but there are challenges as many examples show (Coca Cola, American Apparell etc.)

What might stop this tsunami? Hype might stop it! (good example Second Life). He shows the Gardner Hype Cycle. Gardner has some confusion about when virtual worlds will be mainstream (first 5-10 years, next year 2-5 years).

Problem right now: We need to cross the chasm which means it needs to „save money“, „work“.

The Chasm

Other things which might stop us: Identity (is this secure?).

Some things might be solved but there is something in the public mind called „perception lag“. Public might notice very late that things have changed.

He says that what stays are only the market leaders. There are no standards right now. There is no interoperability.

He shows lots of examples where people have been wrong, like Bill Gates about the amount of memory ever needed.

He says: We might not use wearable PCs because we will look like idiots. We will use some touch device though and solve the problem of non verbal communication (simple: emoticons, more complex but idiot looking: emotiv neuroset)

Representation (e.g. faces) will get better but we will always be taller, thinner, better looking.

There comes the tipping point when the momentum becomes unstoppable but we don’t know when this will happen.

There will be killer apps. One of those killer apps is actually the military. Others: dating, pornography, mirror worlds, gambling.

5-10 years: 3d TV, something like Minority Report, multiple technologies mashed together.

What should you do? Build a pilot, proof of concept, train train train. Keep an eye on what’s happening.

When the sun comes up, think ouside the box.

„may you live in boring times“

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