Frankly speaking, I’m really looking forward to this conference. I first learnt about it via Jude Yew, who is currently pursuing his PhD at the School of Information, University of Michigan. As part of my interest in Second Life, this State of Play conference isn’t just what the doctor ordered, but it happens to be held in Singapore at the same time I’m going to be there! From the looks of it, it’ll also be accessible via webcasts and podcasts. I only hope that registration isn’t crazy-expensive!
Here’s the gist of what State of Play IV is about:
- State of Play IV: Building the Global Metaverse, the fourth annual State of Play conference on the future of cyberspace
- The academic conference will be held at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, on January 7-9, 2007
- Organized by Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, New York Law School, Trinity University, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore
- Like the recent AoIR conference I attended, the hallmark of the conference is its multi-disciplinary perspective
- Virtual worlds are global in scope, but seem to remain disparate in how they are managed across cultures (e.g. Eastern vs. Western).
- The absence of cross-cultural dialogue means that virtual worlds are being set up and run without sensitivity to diverse cultural, legal and social norms.
- This lack of cross-cultural understanding can manifests itself in the social tensions emerging online.
- Last June, close to 10,000 Chinese players rioted within The Fantasy of the Journey West to protest the presence of what they thought was Japan’s national flag. Two years ago, players of Lineage II teamed up to slaughter game characters perceived to be “Chinese gold farmers.” Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese players complain that Western gamers in World of Warcraft apply racial profiling, excluding Chinese players from social groups based on language skills and recognizably Chinese surnames.
- These virtual worlds are crucial building blocks of global civil society. There lies a promise for relationship-building and cooperation across national borders.
- You can read the entire About page here.
I must add that the biggest “players” in virtual worlds are going to be there…
• Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash (must read!)
• Cory Doctorow, Canadian Fulbright Chair (2006-2007), USC Center on Public Diplomacy (Author and Boing Boing-er)
• Nick Yee, Palo Alto Advanced Research Center / Stanford (His interview and The Daedalus Project)
• Ge Jin, Director of Gold Farmers, Doctoral Student in Communication, UC San Diego
• Constance Steinkuehler, Cognitive Science and Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Wagner James Au, Second Life Explorer: New World Notes
• Raph Koster, A Theory of Fun
• Kjartan Emilsson, Producer of Eve Online (Sci-Fi MMORPG)
• Mike Wilson, CEO, There.com
• Danah Boyd, social media researcher at UC Berkeley and Yahoo!
• And many more…
If you’re attending this and would like to meet up, indicate so on this Upcoming.org event page. While you’re at it, make sure to join and subscribe to our Social Media Conference group over there. For official details, stay tuned to the State of Play IV: Building the Global Metaverse web site.
Update: For those living around NYC, you can also attend the State of Play/Terra Nova Symposium on Dec 1-2 at the New York Law School.