Wednesday, March 22, 2006


"Check this out," my roomate said in excitement from his well worn out computer chair. I immediately got up from my chair and saw something that impressed me, an evolution of the traditional InstantMessenger. He showed me IMVA, Instant Messenger with avatars, where you can not only talk...but walk, change the scene of conversation, and express a variety of emotoins from a punch in the face, to a belly laugh, to a french kiss.
From my roomate's first day of use, he already has an avatar girlfreind. They met at a coffee shop. Since he has the free version of IMVA, he can not have sex with her, but they can still hug and kiss. If you pay a subscription fee you can have sex. An avatar prostitute? Maybe.
Anyway, although the avatars still look cartoonish, people are already investing more time, emotion, and life experience controlling their avatar with a computer mouse. It is possible to be attracted to the avatars of IMVA just like you would be attracted to a person in the real world. The visual cues of the avatars are enough to arouse someone.
In other words, IMVA is like Second Life. Perhaps future generations will come home from school and meet their avatar freinds and family online. The strangeness of these online social experiences will fade over time, and the children of the future may become indifferent to true organic reality.

"The times they are a changin."
-Bob Dylan


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