Linden Labs announced today that it will begin offering voice capabilities for Second Life in June.  The announcement made me think about issues dealing with the simultaneous flow of 2 or more independent media streams – polymedia I call it(like polyrhythmic). Voice in virtual worlds can be very valuable –  even if only a speaker phone for one-on-one. A group of people who have Skype can use voice but things get more complex. If someone comes along without voice they can participate via text chat but they won’t hear the rest of the conversation. And what happens when you get a cell phone call while talking in-world? With text chat you can do both at the same time. If you walk away from the computer during a text chat, you can catch-up from the history log when you return, but voice won’t be logged anytime soon so that means you’ll have missed out on part of the conversation. This coupled with the fact that the Vivox offering that’s being integrated is currently Windows-only means more and more, we’ll encounter people with different types of access which is just fine – life in the meshed-up jungle. The question is in a decade, will people opt to have implants that enable them to trigger simultaneous voice responses?


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