I have been granted Observer status to the EU’s second 2nd Generation citizens’ assembly, this is on Virtual Worlds. I felt my expertise might be useful. The first day (half day), was a plenary session, the final exercise in the afternoon was a brainstorming session in which all the invited citizens joined in. They were asked to identify the three best things and the three worst things, they have observed since 1992, the year the world wide web was invented.

from NWN Beneath the Cobbles, made by me

I report and comment on my day below/overleaf …

The brainstorming session asked people to identify good and bad things from the Internet by time, on the collective results suggested things were getting worse. Whether this is because it is getting worse or caused by the fact that the younger people can’t identify older benefits or disbenefits.

I made the following observations;

  1. I remember my first purchase using Internet technology. In 1992, I ordered some software from an American software vendor, using e-mail or maybe by phone. There was no PayPal, and download speeds prohibited I download. The software was delivered by mail. I forget how we paid for it.This was about two years after I had asked sales staff at Sun Microsystem to demonstrate a remote login from London to New York.
  2. I remember in the late 80’s attaching a VT100 via a modem in my home to Pyramid Technology’s benchmarking systems, starting a personal 40 year internal debate as to whether working from home is good or bad.
  3. I remember installing and playing Neverwinter Nights in about 2006, probably my first experience of a virtual world, although I rarely played cooperatively. The WAN connectivity was not good enough although once we got the ISDN line in, my children enjoyed playing a bunch of co-operative games over the years.
  4. I remember my conversations about transferring to Google as a search engine. It had in-list driven “page rank” scoring; I abandoned Alta Vista’s in memory localised search. Google was probably my first cloud application.
  1. I recall the time spent installing anti malware products and learning about strange networking configurations just to get the computers in my home to work together mainly playing games. Did learning the skills for the more esoteric parts of Windows self-administration help me? Certainly the transition to Windows 7 and then beyond was not a good experience.
  2. Today I spend too much time curating my social media feeds to ensure that those that wish to control me don’t get what they need from what I say. There is a chilling effect created buy those for whom home surveillance is a way of life.
  3. When repairing my phone recently, this had to be done by the original equipment vendor, and their prices are not fair. We need the coming “right to repair”.

Other issues raised include the growing amount of fake news and click bait and the psychological manipulation exercised to create site stickiness.

At least one person, spoke of remote conferencing as an advantage and disadvantage. In many cases without this technology communication and collaboration would not occur, but on the other hand, true communication needs physical presence. Huge amounts of communication between people is non verbal.

It was also identified networks based on technology create exclusions as well as increasing the amounts of communication and the creation of new networks. These exclusions maybe social, or based on protocols such as the transition from myspace to Facebook. This observation reminded me that my secondary school old boys’ network would not have been created without social media providers and that building that network used three social media platforms, Friends Reunited, Yahoo, and finally Facebook.

Virtual Worlds, an EU citizens assembly
Tagged on:             

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: