Search results for: synthetic-worlds

Synthetic Worlds

Author : Edward Castronova
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From EverQuest to World of Warcraft, online games have evolved from the exclusive domain of computer geeks into an extraordinarily lucrative staple of the entertainment industry. People of all ages and from all walks of life now spend thousands of hours—and dollars—partaking in this popular new brand of escapism. But the line between fantasy and reality is starting to blur. Players have created virtual societies with governments and economies of their own whose currencies now trade against the dollar on eBay at rates higher than the yen. And the players who inhabit these synthetic worlds are starting to spend more time online than at their day jobs. In Synthetic Worlds, Edward Castronova offers the first comprehensive look at the online game industry, exploring its implications for business and culture alike. He starts with the players, giving us a revealing look into the everyday lives of the gamers—outlining what they do in their synthetic worlds and why. He then describes the economies inside these worlds to show how they might dramatically affect real world financial systems, from potential disruptions of markets to new business horizons. Ultimately, he explores the long-term social consequences of online games: If players can inhabit worlds that are more alluring and gratifying than reality, then how can the real world ever compete? Will a day ever come when we spend more time in these synthetic worlds than in our own? Or even more startling, will a day ever come when such questions no longer sound alarmist but instead seem obsolete? With more than ten million active players worldwide—and with Microsoft and Sony pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into video game development—online games have become too big to ignore. Synthetic Worlds spearheads our efforts to come to terms with this virtual reality and its concrete effects. “Illuminating. . . . Castronova’s analysis of the economics of fun is intriguing. Virtual-world economies are designed to make the resulting game interesting and enjoyable for their inhabitants. Many games follow a rags-to-riches storyline, for example. But how can all the players end up in the top 10%? Simple: the upwardly mobile human players need only be a subset of the world's population. An underclass of computer-controlled 'bot' citizens, meanwhile, stays poor forever. Mr. Castronova explains all this with clarity, wit, and a merciful lack of academic jargon.”—The Economist “Synthetic Worlds is a surprisingly profound book about the social, political, and economic issues arising from the emergence of vast multiplayer games on the Internet. What Castronova has realized is that these games, where players contribute considerable labor in exchange for things they value, are not merely like real economies, they are real economies, displaying inflation, fraud, Chinese sweatshops, and some surprising in-game innovations.”—Tim Harford, Chronicle of Higher Education

Synthetic Worlds

Author : Esther Leslie
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This revealing study considers the remarkable alliance between chemistry and art from the late eighteenth century to the period immediately following the Second World War. Synthetic Worlds offers fascinating new insights into the place of the material object and the significance of the natural, the organic, and the inorganic in Western aesthetics. Esther Leslie considers how radical innovations in chemistry confounded earlier alchemical and Romantic philosophies of science and nature while profoundly influencing the theories that developed in their wake. She also explores how advances in chemical engineering provided visual artists with new colors, surfaces, coatings, and textures, thus dramatically recasting the way painters approached their work. Ranging from Goethe to Hegel, Blake to the Bauhaus, Synthetic Worlds ultimately considers the astonishing affinities between chemistry and aesthetics more generally. As in science, progress in the arts is always assured, because the impulse to discover is as immutable and timeless as the drive to create.

Synthetic Worlds

Author : Andreas Hebbel-Seeger
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Synthetic Worlds, Virtual Worlds, and Alternate Realities are all terms used to describe the phenomenon of computer-based, simulated environments in which users inhabit and interact via avatars. The best-known commercial applications are in the form of electronic gaming, and particularly in massively-multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft or Second Life. Less known, but possibly more important, is the rapid adoption of platforms in education and business, where Serious Games are being used for training purposes, and even Second Life is being used in many situations that formerly required travel. The editors of this book captures the state of research in the field intended to reflect the rapidly growing yet relatively young market in education and business. The general focus is set on the scientific community but integrates the practical applications for businesses, with papers on information systems, business models, and economics. In six parts, international authors – all experts in their field – discuss the current state-of-the-art of virtual worlds/alternate realities and how the field will develop over the next years. Chapters discuss the influences and impacts in and around virtual worlds. Part four is about education, with a focus on learning environments and experiences, pedagogical models, and the effects on the different roles in the educational sector. The book looks at business models and how companies can participate in virtual worlds while receiving a return on investment, and includes cases and scenarios of integration, from design, implementation to application.

Working Through Synthetic Worlds

Author : Dr C A P Smith
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Virtual environments (VE) are human-computer interfaces in which the computer creates a sensory-immersing environment that interactively responds to and is controlled by the behaviour of the user. Since these technologies will continue to become more reliable, more resolute and more affordable, it's important to consider the advantages that VEs may offer to support business processes. The term 'synthetic world' refers to a subset of VEs, having a large virtual landscape and a set of rules that govern the interactions among participants. Currently, the primary motivators for participation in these synthetic worlds appear to be fun and novelty. As the novelty wears off, synthetic worlds will need to demonstrate a favourable value proposition if they are to survive. In particular, non-game-oriented worlds will need to facilitate business processes to a degree that exceeds their substantial costs for development and maintenance. Working Through Synthetic Worlds explores a variety of different tasks that might benefit by being performed within a synthetic world. The editors use a distinctive format for the book, consisting of a set of chapters composed of three parts: • a story or vignette that describes work conducted within a synthetic world based loosely on the question, 'what will work be like in the year 2025?', founded on the expert authors' expectations of plausible future technologies • a scholarly review of the technologies described by the stories and the current theories related to those technologies • a prescription for future research required to bridge the current state-of-the-art with the notional worlds described in the stories. The book will appeal to undergraduate and graduate students, professors, scientists and engineers, managers in high-tech industries and software developers.

Peak Plastic The Rise or Fall of Our Synthetic World

Author : Jack Buffington
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Shows why plastics, in aggregate, have become a toxin to humans, wildlife, and the planet, and proposes novel solutions that involve neither traditional recycling nor giving up plastic. • Provides a realistic solution for our use of plastic: not to eliminate it, but to innovate it • Views plastic not only as a known environmental and health hazard but as a material critical to our future and therefore worth revising for future use • Explains what we must do—and by when—in order to be able to keep using plastic without harming the planet or our health • Shows the links between the environmental, toxicological, and socioeconomic challenges in our use of plastic, and how these dangers can be remedied by supply chain innovation • Introduces two significant disruptive innovations that if implemented, will save us from the growing problem posed by synthetics

Multimedia Modeling Towards Information Superhighway

Author : Chua Tat Seng
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This is the first book that takes a detailed look at the importance of phase in the design of speech processing systems. Phase, in comparison with amplitude, is often ignored for speech recognition applications. Thus, this book highlights some of the important ways in which the phase of speech signals can be utilized for sound localization, enhancement, and recognition.This book also discusses the state-of-the-art research in phase-based speech processing, starting from the basics of signal processing and recording, to single microphone speech recognition, the recognition of speech and the processing of speech by humans, as well as the importance of phase in human speech recognition and multi-microphone phase-based speech processing.

Metaplasticity in Virtual Worlds Aesthetics and Semantic Concepts

Author : Mura, Gianluca
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The concept of virtual worlds is strongly related to the current innovations of new media communication.ÿ As such, it is increasingly imperative to understand the criteria for creating virtual worlds as well as the evolution in system architecture, information visualization and human interaction. Meta-plasticity in Virtual Worlds: Aesthetics and Semantics Concepts provides in-depth coverage of the state-of-the-art among the best international research experiences of virtual world concept creations from a wide range of media culture fields, at the edge of artistic and scientific inquiry and emerging technologies. Written for professionals, researchers, artists and designers, this text is a perfect companion for those who want to improve their understanding of the strategic role of virtual worlds within the development of digital communication.

Digital Interactive TV and Metadata

Author : Arthur Lugmayr
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The book shows how digital-interactive television (digiTV) will affect the relation between the broadcaster and the consumer. Standardization processes, technological paradigms, and application development issues will be discussed. The emerging applications, innovations, and future concepts are described in detail. The triangle: content - end-user - technology will be conceptualized to create a vision and to overview provision of services that will be major innovative elments in the world of digital television. From the technical side, eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based metadata standards are a major element in realizing new innovative concepts in the world of digital, interactive television. This book clearly shows by the introduction of applications and use-scenarios, which conceptual requirements and metadata models are applicable, which metadata subsets are applicable due to resource limitations, which metadata aspects are needed for nonlinear content viewing, etc. The book gives a broad and detailed both visionary and technical overview useful for graduates, engineers, and scientists; and last but not least decision-makers in the broadcasting industry.

Living Virtually

Author : Don Heider
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Virtual worlds are most often three dimensional locales, where people create virtual personae (called avatars) who come to play, socialize, and work. This edited collection of groundbreaking research on virtual worlds offers a wide-ranging look at the sociology, politics, and communication practices in virtual worlds from a group of scholars in the United States and abroad.

Exodus to the Virtual World

Author : Edward Castronova
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Virtual worlds have exploded out of online game culture and now capture the attention of millions of ordinary people: husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, workers, retirees. Devoting dozens of hours each week to massively multiplayer virtual reality environments (like World of Warcraft and Second Life), these millions are the start of an exodus into the refuge of fantasy, where they experience life under a new social, political, and economic order built around fun. Given the choice between a fantasy world and the real world, how many of us would choose reality? Exodus to the Virtual World explains the growing migration into virtual reality, and how it will change the way we live--both in fantasy worlds and in the real one.

Research and Development in Intelligent Systems XXIII

Author : Frans Coenen
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The papers in this volume are the refereed technical papers presented at AI-2006, the Twenty-sixth SGAI International Conference on Innovative Techniques and Applications of Artificial Intelligence, held in Cambridge in December 2006. They present new and innovative developments in the field. For the first time the volume also includes the text of short papers presented as posters at the conference.

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography

Author : Trevor J. Barnes
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The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography presents students and researchers with a comprehensive overview of the field, put together by a prestigious editorial team, with contributions from an international cast of prominent scholars. Offers a fully revised, expanded, and up-to-date overview, following the successful and highly regarded Companion to Economic Geography published by Blackwell a decade earlier, providing a comprehensive assessment of the field Takes a prospective as well as retrospective look at the field, reviewing recent developments, recurrent challenges, and emerging agendas Incorporates diverse perspectives (in terms of specialty, demography and geography) of up and coming scholars, going beyond a focus on Anglo-American research Encourages authors and researchers to engage with and contextualize their situated perspectives Explores areas of overlap, dialogues, and (potential) engagement between economic geography and cognate disciplines

Creating Personalities for Synthetic Actors

Author : Robert Trappl
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Progress in computer animation has gained such a speed that, before long, computer-generated human faces and figures on screen will be indistinguishable from those of real humans. The potential both for scripted films and real-time interaction with users is enormous. However, in order to cope with this potential, these faces and figures must be guided by autonomous personality agents. This carefully arranged volume presents the state of the art in research and development in making synthetic actors more autonomous. The papers describe the different approaches and solutions developed by computer animation specialists, computer scientists, experts in AI, psychologists and philosophers, from leading laboratories world-wide. Finally, a bibliography comprising more than 200 entries enable further study.

Making Virtual Worlds

Author : Thomas Malaby
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The past decade has seen phenomenal growth in the development and use of virtual worlds. In one of the most notable, Second Life, millions of people have created online avatars in order to play games, take classes, socialize, and conduct business transactions. Second Life offers a gathering point and the tools for people to create a new world online. Too often neglected in popular and scholarly accounts of such groundbreaking new environments is the simple truth that, of necessity, such virtual worlds emerge from physical workplaces marked by negotiation, creation, and constant change. Thomas Malaby spent a year at Linden Lab, the real-world home of Second Life, observing those who develop and profit from the sprawling, self-generating system they have created. Some of the challenges created by Second Life for its developers were of a very traditional nature, such as how to cope with a business that is growing more quickly than existing staff can handle. Others are seemingly new: How, for instance, does one regulate something that is supposed to run on its own? Is it possible simply to create a space for people to use and then not govern its use? Can one apply these same free-range/free-market principles to the office environment in which the game is produced? "Lindens"—as the Linden Lab employees call themselves—found that their efforts to prompt user behavior of one sort or another were fraught with complexities, as a number of ongoing processes collided with their own interventions. Malaby thoughtfully describes the world of Linden Lab and the challenges faced while he was conducting his in-depth ethnographic research there. He shows how the workers of a very young but quickly growing company were themselves caught up in ideas about technology, games, and organizations, and struggled to manage not only their virtual world but also themselves in a nonhierarchical fashion. In exploring the practices the Lindens employed, he questions what was at stake in their virtual world, what a game really is (and how people participate), and the role of the unexpected in a product like Second Life and an organization like Linden Lab.

The Future of the Internet Hopes and fears

Author : Harrison Rainie
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About the series: Technology builders, entrepreneurs, consultants, academicians, and futurists from around the world share their wisdom in The Future of the Internet surveys conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University. The series of surveys garners smart, detailed assessments of multi-layered issues from a variety of voices, ranging from the scientists and engineers who created the first Internet architecture a decade ago to social commentators to technology leaders in corporations, media, government, and higher education. Among the respondents are people affiliated with many of the world's top organizations, including IBM, AOL, Microsoft, Intel, ICANN, the Internet Society, Google, W3C, Internet2, and Oracle; Harvard, MIT, and Yale; and the Federal Communications Commission, FBI, U.S. Census Bureau, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Department of State. They provide significant and telling responses to questions about the future of government, education, media, entertainment, commerce, and more. They foresee continuing conflicts over control of networked communications and the content produced and shared online. They also predict the major changes ahead for everyone in every field of endeavor. Hopes and Fears: The Future of the Internet, Volume 2 The 2006 Future of the Internet II survey asked its participants to react to variety of networked information technology scenarios related to national boundaries, human languages, artificial intelligence and other topics. Among the questions implicit in the scenarios were: Will more people choose to live "off the grid"? Will autonomous machines leave people out of the loop? Will English be the lingua franca? Will national boundaries be displaced by new groupings? Among the themes in the predictions: Continued serious erosion of individual privacy; the improvement of virtual reality and rising problems tied to it; greater economic opportunities in developing nations; changes in languages; the rise of autonomous machines that operate beyond human control.

Virtual Worlds Real Terrorism

Author : Akil Ar-Raqib
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Virtual Worlds are 3-D constructs that exist in cyber-space. Participants operate within these constructs in the form of avatars. Although wirtual worlds appear at first to be merely games, in fact they can be used to carry out criminal conspiracies or terrorism. The book has the assistance of Akil Ar-Raqib is a researcher working in Beirut, Lebannon and Zurich, Switzerland.

Learning and Research in Virtual Worlds

Author : Jeremy Hunsinger
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Virtual worlds are places where humans interact, and as such they can be environments for research and learning. However, they are complex and mutable in ways that more controlled and traditional environments are not. Although computer-mediated, virtual worlds are multifaceted social systems like the offline world, and choosing to study virtual world phenomena demands as much consideration for the participants, the environment and the researcher as offline. By exploring virtual worlds as places of research and learning, the international practitioners in this book demonstrate the power of these worlds to replicate and extend our arenas of research and learning. They focus on process and outcomes and consider questions that arise from engaging in teaching and research in these spaces, including new approaches to research ethics, internationalization, localization, and collaboration in virtual worlds. This book was originally published as a special issue of Learning, Media & Technology.

Second Life

Author : Brian A. White
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Live your Second Life to the fullest! Create Your Virtual Life in an Incredible Online World...Right Now! Imagine a virtual landscape where everything is created and owned entirely by residents like you. Imagine a place where you can enjoy sunsets, ride a jet ski, buy land, plant a garden, get a tattoo, go sky diving, spend an evening dancing the night away, or relax at home by the fire. Picture a world vividly developed, socially dynamic, and strikingly real where you can bring previously unimaginable things to life with friends from around the globe. This is Second Life®, the hottest Internet phenomenon in years…maybe ever! Now, there’s a totally real, totally independent guide to Second Life. This full-color book is as rich as Second Life itself! It’s packed with insider tips, easy step-by-step techniques, and interviews with dozens of SL residents telling you what they wished they knew when they started! Brian White pulls no punches: You’ll learn exactly what’s great and not so great about SL...how to thrive in its unique culture, and how to create your dreams! The more time you spend in Second Life, the more useful this book will become...teaching you more advanced skills; everything from vehicle construction, Linden Scripting Language, particle systems, to creating custom animations and the new sculpted prims! Visit the companion site in Second Life to find all the textures and objects from this book as well as the contributor’s gallery and other goodies: http://slurl.com/secondlife/humuli/222/123/29

Virtual Law

Author : Benjamin Tyson Duranske
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If you are one of the many who have read about and heard about virtual worlds but do not really understand what a virtual world is, or even how to use appropriate terminology when discussing them, then this is the book for you."--Jacket.

Electronic Constitution Social Cultural and Political Implications

Author : Amoretti, Francesco
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Provides analysis of the relationship between digital information technologies and politics, relating these issues to the historical system transformation.