I could not pass up the chance to attend the first science conference held in a game so a few weeks ago I set up a World of Warcraft account and became a blood elf paladin on the side of the Horde in the Earthen Ring realm. Today I am sitting on the side of a dirt hill in Bladefist Bay listening to the first presentation of this conference.
Some may think attending such an event is crazy – however, looking at the list of attendees, most seem very serious about the endeavor. The group is made up of professionals and educators from various science-related fields. So why would about 250 serious-minded folks attend a conference in a game?
After spending a significant amount of time within a virtual world environment, even one that is “game-based”, most people can begin to see the future emerging. As more people become comfortable interacting online, many of our “real life” activities will begin to take place in a virtual setting. Serious business will begin to be conducted in these new worlds on a more frequent basis. And as the discussion continues at this presentation, I begin to wonder if someday our real world battles will be held virtually.
So we are here, sitting on a hill in avatar form, participating in a historic event and trying to learn what brought us to this point, where we are going, and how we are trying to find our way through this emerging technology, and hopefully, not get left behind.
As the conference unfolds over the next few days, I will try to continue to update the blog. Oh, and by the way, tomorrow the presentation is being held in a sewer. Now that should be interesting!
2 Replies to “First Day of World of Warcraft Science Conference”
Fascinating Pam, will we see a Public Works or built environment conference in the sewer before long? Rgds
It is a fairly interesting concept – virtual worlds allow for the total immersion of the attendee in the subject matter. (Which for sewers may not be all that appealing of an idea to some.) However, this brings to mind the seminar I attended on roundabouts that was held in a traditional format. Throughout the day, I kept thinking how much more interesting and informative the seminar would have been if we had actually been able to interact directly with a roundabout. Walking around it, driving through several designs, … all that would have helped to better illustrate the concepts. All of which would not really be feasible in “real life” but is definitely possible in a virtual world.
In a virtual world, attendees can be assembled in or on the subject matter. Speakers can directly reference concepts with representations of the topic, and virtual worlds even allow for actually “trying out” concepts and ideas.
So, is anything like this going to happen in the near future for us? I would love to see that and would definitely participate in helping to host a public works/environmental/sustainability conference in a virtual world like Second Life. I even have a sewer system ready on Public Works island to serve as a location for some of the sessions!
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