Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web3D, Web 3D Voice
or Multiple Intelligences?

Wed, Mar 21, 2007


Second Life is a very amazing place. All in one day I ran into Eggy Lippmann (photo above and see Late Night with Eggy…), Runitai Linden, Plastic Duck and Ice Brodie on SL’s beta voice grid. I live in New York City – a place where it is easy to find gatherings of interesting people – but, I think, only on Second Life could such a fascinating mix of visionaries come together.

It may sound strange, even indirectly, equating the term visionary with a legendary griefer, as Plastic Duck is reputed to be (and he did play a few pranks on me). But, it seems, Plastic is engaged in pushing the limits of the web in his own way.

In the conversation between Runitai, Plastic, Ice and I, the beta 3D voice performed well. I met with Eggy , visionary founder of Beta Technologies, earlier that day. Eggy, very generously, spent a great deal of time with me sharing his deep understanding of SL (more on this later in the post). Our conversation was so engaging I didn’t think to ask much about the beta 3D voice at the time (which gives an idea of how well it is working). But, I emailed Eggy for some of his thoughts on beta 3D voice later.

Eggy wrote back: “The 3D aspect doesn’t seem very realistic. Would be good to have something like an arrow with a name pointing to people who are speaking offscreen. Paying attention to a voice conversation is a lot harder, as any interruption may cause us to permanently lose track of what people are talking about, since there is no log. Also, it’s easier to decipher mangled text, at least for me, than it is to understand people with a weird accent, or if there’s noise on the line etc. Voice conversations also don’t seem to scale as well as text ones, because of concurrency. Two lines of text never interfere with each other, but people speaking at the same time can’t understand what each other is saying. IRL, there are numerous little body language cues that have been fairly well studied, that people use subconsciously when engaging in a conversation, to figure out when it’s ok to speak, etc… this does not carry over very well to the internet, or SL.”

(Note: Eggy adds in his comment that while 3D voice needs some redefining, “I actually like the voice feature as it is, and plan on using it a lot.”)

And, that night in a small group, we talked and listened easily and the conversation was on fire!

We covered many topics ranging from the great success of The American Cancer Society’s Second Life Relay for Life (Ice is an enthusiastic participant), to exploring the social changes 3D voice will bring to Second Life (perhaps, the biggest challenge will be to residents who adopt an alter gender on SL), the future role of Second Life in positive global development, and server level ideas for securing the grid against attacks. As you can imagine, Plastic had some interesting contributions to make here. Anyway, it was the wee hours of the morning EST before I could pull myself away!


For a great video on Second Life Relay for Life go to Tao’s Thoughts on Second Life.


An Interview with Eggy Lippmann

Click on the video grab above to see a video from The Xerox Innovation Group - one of the expanding-the-mind-of-Second-Life type of projects (also see Language Lab) that are a specialty of Eggy Lippmann – founder, principle software architect and visionary of Beta Technologies.

Eggy Lippmann has been involved since the early days in Web development and Second Life. After talking with Eggy, I felt I had a new understanding of the unique place SL has in the the evolution of the Web, and the way SL creates communities and relationships (some so strong that they turn into virtual marriages/partnerships) through an immersion in a rich multidimensional virtual world.

In SL relationships are built on shared experience in many niche worlds where people have a deep investment in their carefully constructed virtual identities. For example, the care residents put into constructing their avatars and finding things they enjoy doing together, e.g., playing house and adopting pets and children, or going out to virtual venues with friends.

SL provides the opportunity for people to talk about and experience niche content, with like minded friends, e.g., seeing an avant-garde film, dancing in a techbeat club, or being a “furry” outsider. See New World Notes for a round up of events in March 21 -25. People can find friends on SL who share their interests. In RL our friends are often acquired through proximity and circumstance and are drawn from only a few social spheres – school, work, and one or two recreational venues.

There has been some misunderstanding in the corporate world of the special qualities of Second Life (see Information Week). But, Eggy is clear and articulate about how old “push” marketing ideas, where brands push their message out over an already existing channel must be replaced by “pull” marketing ideas on Second Life. The focus is now on integrating brands into the worlds of rich content and social connection that are the forte of SL. It is the “pull” of these worlds that has driven SL’s tremendous growth. Perhaps, the skate board ramps I saw being developed on the beta grid when I ran into Eggy will be the playground of SL skaters riding on branded boards in the coming months (see video of skateboarding on SL).

But, as Eggy points out the power of Web 2.0 – hyperlinking is yet to be integrated into Second Life. “We don’t even yet have the equivalent of the early ‘web rings’. In SL, communities need to be better united. It’s hard to move land and content around. There is no such thing as a hierarchical directory of content categories/communities. There is only word-of-mouth/social discovery of places. Someone into sci-fi stuff should be able to easily navigate back and
forth between all public places with sci-fi content on the grid. And in SL, scripts cannot truly teleport people to places over 300 meters away. Moving people between different places on the grid should be easy to setup by the newest of users, and encouraged.”

But there is no doubt in my mind that these and other ways of expanding our connections with each other will soon be here. And, while Second Life may seem a long way from current ways Web 3.0 is described, e.g., in John Markoff’s definition, “as a set of technologies that offer efficient new ways to help computers organize and draw conclusions from online data.” I am reminded of Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Gardner proposed eight different intelligences – “word smart,” “number/reasoning smart,” “picture smart,” “body smart,” “music smart,” “people smart,” “self smart,” and “nature smart,” to help us understand the potential of children and adults. A much wider range of smarts are tapped by Second Life than the conventional Web. And, the relationships formed on SL are often intense, typically, built on doing things together that we really love, activities that give us a great deal of pleasure, whether that is playing house, virtual skydiving or exploring the far reaches of our fantasies. I am beginning to think that some of Gardner’s ideas of multiple intelligences might be a richer way to understand the Web’s evolution, rather than “labels that tend to indicate improved versions of the same thing,” e.g. Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. The founder of Second Life, futurist, Philip Rosedale says, I’m not building a game. I’m building a new country.” And, I am delighted to be watching, participating in, and “bridge blogging,” about SL’s emergence. The relationship between SL and other developing countries is new terrain yet to be explored.

Tags: | | | |Web 3D voice

categories: Second Life

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Aleister Kronos Says:


    You have managed to bring a number of interesting thoughts together into a single blog article. An interesting read, indeed!

    Regarding the “SL as country” view of Rosedale’s. This worries me. If taken literally, SL is a country with a currency that is not backed by an fiscal or economic model, and indeed has (according to ToS) zero value – and Linden could, in theory, scrap it at a moment’s notice. In any event. money is intrinsically related to real estate – and Linden manage the amount of real estate available, thereby affecting the value of such land, and by extension impacting the economics of “the country”.

    Another area of concern is that there is no true legal & judicial framework. Yes, there are bans that can be imposed, but there is no true protection of the innocent or justice for the guilty. If, say, you get ripped off by a property owner, then you have no obvious way to get redress. After all, according to ToS the money has zero true value – it’s only “play money”.

    Now I know that we can exchange L$ for US$ (unless LL decided to stop the facility), so you may not go along with the “play money” argument – despite the ToS. This raises the next bit of fun – the lack of auditing of financial transactions – which makes SL an interesting place for activities such as money laundering. “It goes in here… but comes out God Knows where”.

    Places like Neufreistadt/Colonia Nova have their own laws and governance, but SL – if a country – could prove a scary place. WIthout laws and governance it could be a Utopian Anarchy – or it could be Distopian Chaos.

  2. Eggy Lippmann Says:

    Great article! I’m flattered that you think so highly of me.
    Just one note, I actually like the voice feature as it is, and plan on using it a lot.
    But it definitely needs refining. Hopefully LL will be able to improve upon it and make the SL voice experience truly immersive.

  3. BillyWarhol Says:

    Hey Ugo!

    Interesting article – i’m out of the Avatar SL Loop but i’m interested in creating a 3D space but with more Real World elements combining Photos + Video + Print + Music + Travel*

    Prolly Flash based – I’m gonna take a look at Adobe Apollo*

    Cheers! Billy ;))


  4. Prokofy Neva Says:

    Plastic Duck doesn’t just “play a few pranks”. He’s a hands-on, systematic, conspiratorial, serious destroyer, who, when he crashes the entire grid, causes real US dollar damage — it’s like a denial-of-service attack and is a cybercrime with real damages. The systematic, gross, and serious griefing he has done inworld, which is amply documented, that involves stalking, harassing, spewing obscene particles, defacing RL pictures, etc. etc. is also not “a mere prank” but a serious offense.

    He’s also a RL stalker, and he’s under investigation by the police.

    You shouldn’t be white-washing a psychopathic liar and Internet-histrionics attention whore like this in this manner.

    What he’s trying to do in leaving a voice tape at LL is to get caught.

  5. Baba Says:

    Prokofy, you have to admit that sometimes Plastic just shoots d…s at people and leaves it at that.

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