While thinking about how problematic Second Life can be, I came across a phrase by Alex Iskold in a post he wrote last year on the ReadWriteWeb site, ‘our inevitable digital future’, and it got me thinking. We can kick or turn away as much as we like, but the future will still be digital. Iskold coins the term ‘Digital Life’, defining it as ‘a collective of the virtual world technologies that are bringing life to the digital realm’. He also points out that the core of Second Life is social, unlike virtual world video games which are quests. Digital Life, according to Iskold, is a set of technologies that aims to put a digital realm on top of our reality. He compares this to ‘magical glasses that overlay digital information on top of real-world scenes as you walk around. The closest modern version of this technology is Google Earth, a detailed 3D visualisation of the earth’. This application tags and annotates our physical world with digital tags which, according to Iskold, makes our world much richer.
It’s natural for us to sometimes resist change or, at least, to be uncomfortable about it. I suppose it’s a basic survival instinct, testing the waters before jumping in. But I think that, over time, we will be able to see more practical and inspirational applications of Digital Life. The bigger picture is yet to become clear for us. I agree with Iskold – life is becoming more digital and digital is becoming more alive.