In an article in yesterday’s Melbourne Age about the futurist Ray Hammond – “The future is here right now, if you can read the signs” – is this quote:
It is only a matter of time, he says, before every major business in the world is conducting meetings and transactions in a space like Second Life.
A similar quote I have been using in my presentations on virtual worlds comes from Gartner Research in April:
By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life”, but not necessarily in Second Life.
In June, I gave a presentation on why educators need to pay attention to virtual worlds for the AFLF’S E-learning Networks in which I made something like the following prediction:
If I had said to you 15 years ago that today we would all have at least two email addresses – a personal one and one for work – and that most organisations would have some form of presence on the World Wide Web, you would probably have said that I was mad.
Today I will make a similar prediction… that within ten years we will all have at least two avatars – a personal one for socialising, and one for work, and that most organisations will have a presence in a virtual world.
Let’s see how crazy that sounds in ten years time!
In fact, when you consider the number of virtual worlds that exist or are under development, the activity at the Fall Virtual Worlds Conference which points to a virtual worlds boom, and the news that companies have spent $1 billion dollars in 35 virtual worlds over the past year, I’m starting to think that ten years was a bit conservative!
And the “be” avatars mentioned in the title of this post?
Well, it will just be interesting to see how having an avatar (or two) will affect our identities and the boundaries between the virtual and the real.