There was an interesting interview by David Pogue with Philip Linden in today’s NYT. So I’m going to cheat and use an excerpt as something of an answer to Dixie Starr’s Not-A-Meme Challenge #4: “What will be Second Life’s biggest positive change and biggest negative change in two years (circa 2009)?”

Positive change: And I quote Philip:

When you look at Second Life today, you may say, “I don’t like the graphics.” Or, you know, “It’s clunky. It runs too slow.” But you have to bear in mind that in just a few years, this is gonna look like walking into a movie screen. And that’s just gonna be such an amazing thing.

I can only see the SL experience becoming more and more immersive as we go forward. Today, even for it’s (relatively) crude graphics and stodgy interface, I think all of us addicts will agree that being in SL is incredibly absorbing. As the various engines (backend and frontend) become more powerful and
the development community gathers strength in carrying forward the various bits and pieces of the system, I can only see this trend accelerating.

It may not be the most positive change for the world, but I truly believe that it will make a huge difference on the experience both for new users as well as us oldbies.

Negative change:

I’m really concerned that as SL becomes more and more mainstream, that the strong sense of community that we have today will be lost or will lessen. With more people in-world, it will probably become more difficult to find those with whom you share or discover a strong affinity. So our biggest challenge going forward will be to find ways to continue making this experience as relevant and important as it is today.

Other good stuff:

David Pogue: Is there any worry about the whole isolation thing? First iPod earbuds, and now people substituting virtual interactions for real ones?

Philip Rosedale: Well I’ll tell ya, the history of technology has, in the past 50 years, been to increasingly isolate us. We’ve gone from watching movies in a movie theater, to watching them as a family at home, to watching them alone on our iPod.

But actually I think there’s a next wave of technology, of which Second Life is certainly a great example, where we are bringing people back together again into the same place to have these experiences.

The thing about Second Life that is so fascinating and different is not just that it’s 3-D. There are always people to share that experience with, or to ask for help. Or to laugh at something with. And that experience is an innately human one that technology has deprived us of. I think many people use Second Llife to have more friends, and more human contact, than they do in the real world.

Good one, Philip 🙂