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!