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virtual worlds

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Saved by vagy5@mail.mst.edu
on November 13, 2010 at 6:42:06 pm


Virtual worlds are immersive, animated, 3D environments that operate over the Internet, giving access to anyone from anywhere in the world. A virtual world is an online environment whose “residents” are avatars representing individuals participating online. Virtual worlds use a bottom up approach where users of design their environments and often their avatars as well, from gender to clothing and hairstyle, and control how those avatars communicate, move, create things, and interact. The functioning of a virtual world can mirror that of the real world, or it can allow residents to do such things as fly, wander around underwater, or teleport themselves to other locations. Please watch the video below to get a better understanding of the concept of virtual worlds and avatars.




There is a large user base for virtual worlds like Second Life, World of Warcraft etc. The reason behind this is due to fact that everything is possible in the virtual space. The advantages of virtual worlds are :


  • Fosters creativity: the possibilities in the creation of an avatar are endless. Perhaps you would like to try being someone else for a while. Virtual environments let you do this.
  • Intuitive: Virtual Environments mimic the real world, and so navigation is often natural.
  • Collaboration: A virtual classroom goes one step further than the online courses. You can meet, in the virtual world, your group members! Not limited to education, virtual collaboration is used for business, medical, social, and so many other fields. 
  • Simulations are available and realistic for a variety of topics.


The video below summarizes the key advantages of having an avatar. 




While having an avatar sounds like a very good idea, one has take in to account the possible negative impacts it may have on their real life. On the technical side, data security, privacy breaches etc are of a huge concern. On the emotional front, there were reported cases where people got so absorbed in their virtual selves that they could associate with their real selves any more. Moreover, it is possible that virtual worlds and avatars can create a significant disruption in the normal human life in they are used on a very large scale on a regular basis. 





According to you, what would be the future of virtual worlds? Do you think virtual worlds have the capabilities to replace real environments like classrooms, business meeting places, shopping malls etc? Why or why not? 












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