летающий фаллос and the New Wild West

In December, 2006, flying phalli disrupted a Second Life press conference at a CNET event reflectively dedicated to making money in SL.

Two months later, US Presidential candidate John Edwards had his SL headquarters vandalized in a roughly similar way.

It took just over a year for the world to take the next step, when Russian chess champion cum opposition politician Garry Kasporov had a real world open meeting disrupted by a remote controlled dildo helicopter.

I find it interesting that it didn’t happen here in the US. Of course, five years earlier, cybersage William Gibson had published Pattern Recognition(1), in which Russia is depicted as a tech-hip wild west.

I don’t think the New Wild West is Russia or grassroots politics or astro-turf. It’s cyberspace. For better or worse, what happens there isn’t staying there. And, anyway, how real was the Buffalo West?

1. The netspeak prose didn’t really work for me, and I didn’t think Gibson’s rendering of a female protagonist felt authentic. But it’s easy to forgive these because they don’t really interfere with the spot-on, absolutely compelling ideas. Terrific, thought-provoking read.

Da5id's Vision

In January, 2005, David Smith was on stage at Kyoto University, speaking in a panel on the future of Croquet. Slouched in his chair, he pulled an iPod from his pocket and threw it on the table, along with his old-fashioned styled spectacles. “In twenty years, that will be the computer. Maybe earlier. Wearable computers and micro-projection display already exist. Virtual Croquet worlds will be layered onto the physical world around us.”

At the same time, in San Diego, CA, author Vernor Vinge was wrapping up “Rainbows End,” a novel set in 2025 in which the common person’s view of the world is augmented by wearable computers overlaying virtual worlds onto contact lenses. The central denizen of the worlds in the story is a troublesome white rabbit, which also happens to be a common avatar in the Alice In Wonderland themed Croquet worlds.

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Creating reality

I’ve always been interested in the “fake it to make it” credo, which is pretending that you are something until you become that thing.

Fiction writers contiually create realities that exist on paper until someone later makes it real (like Heinlein’s waldos). When governments create realities, then what? Cyberpunk author William Gibson has begun to blog again. In a post Sun, Oct. 17, he quotes an article from the New York Times Magazine by Ron Suskind.

In the quoted section, Suskind recounts a conversation with an unnamed senior advisor to Bush.

‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.’

That level of arrogance, of certainty, scares the heck out of me.

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