IBM, Second Life and the End of The Text Based Internet

One of the pioneers in Second Life is IBM, which also played an important part in helping to make the Web (and open source) respectable for businesses. Here’s what Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology strategy and innovation at IBM, and the man who oversaw the company’s GNU/Linux policy in the early days, says about IBM’s interest in Second Life:

I think that what we are seeing is the evolution of the Internet and World Wide Web in incredibly important new directions. Foremost among them is a much more people-centric Web.

We see this people-centric evolution of the Web in social networks and Web 2.0 – capabilities that enable people to find each other, form communities, share information, and collaborate on a variety of endeavors. Now we are bringing to this new people-centric spirit the highly visual, interactive applications in Virtual Worlds. This new breed of applications is being rethought around the people who design them, maintain them and use them, instead of asking those people to come down to the level of the computers.

We can now bring these exciting capabilities, already in wide use in science, engineering, defense and consumer applications, into the worlds of business, education, health care and government. This was the step that led to IBM’s e-business strategy ten years ago. Could we be at the onset of v-business? Based on my initial experiences in Second Life, we are all in for an incredible ride.

Linux Journal: Why We Need An Open Source Second Life

As we’ve seen with IBM’s entry into the PC, (OOP – Smalltalk, then Java), and Linux markets – the questions now aren’t about if the virtual world paradigm will take root but rather how fast and how deep those roots will grow. When a major paradigm takes root, the current paradigm doesn’t die off, but it does lose its place of primacy. I agree in part with author of the above link when he says:

… the 3D Web isn’t going to take over things that are primarily text-based – there’d be no point. I think rather that it will provide an easier, more intuitive interface to many things …

but the Meshverse(which is more than a 3D web) will subsume text-based stuff and then transform it. This is already happening in Second Life as the Mozilla based uBrowser technology brings web pages in world as functional decoration on the surfaces of 3D objects. When there’s a need to scroll through traditional text we’ll zoom full screen onto a window. This is just an evolutionary twist on maximize/minimize controls and the Dock(Mac) or Task Bar(Windows). Over time, we’ll see less and less text and most images will be snapshots of 3D models. There will also be more functional sound and Tangible User Interfaces(TUI). Text will remain but in a secondary, support role.



  1. […] End of The Text Based Internet […]

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