David Kirkpatrick

November 13, 2009

Immerse In The Future expo coming to LA and Second Life

Via KurzweilAI.net — I’ll just let this speak for itself …

IMMERSE IN THE FUTURE
KurzweilAI.net, Nov. 13, 2009

The latest in immersive media, 3D domes, neurofeedback art, virtual worlds and other cutting-edge media formats and their potential as tools for transformation will be explored at IMMERSE IN THE FUTURE: A VISIONARY EVENING OF ARTS, MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY, Monday, November 16th in Los Angeles and in Second Life.

The event will include presentations by the LA Opera; Kathy Eldon, Founder of Creative Visions Foundation; John Raatz, Founder of GATE; Ed Lantz, Founder of IMERSA and Vortex Immersion Media and the c3: Center for Conscious Creativity, followed by an inspiring keynote by noted author and futurist, Jerome Glenn, the Director of the Millennium Project offering insights on the future of arts,media and entertainment and their effects on global culture.

Glenn will also announce a partnership with c3 to create an international group of futuristic artists and mediavisionaries, and institutions, to become the Global Arts and Media Node for the Millennium Project’s “State of the Future” report.

More info

July 3, 2009

Second Life contributes to social research

I’ve blogged on MMORPGs and social research here and here amonst other times, and I still find it fascinating — although not surprising — that university research is turning to virtual communities for social research. It’s real people interacting and simply by its nature everything collected is both data rich and pre-formatted for the most part. A researchers dream.

The latest release on virtual communities and social research (aside from dk: I spotted a typo in the release. Can you find it?):

Second Life data offers window into how trends spread

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Do friends wear the same style of shoe or see the same movies because they have similar tastes, which is why they became friends in the first place? Or once a friendship is established, do individuals influence each other to adopt like behaviors?

Social scientists don’t know for sure. They’re still trying to understand the role social influence plays in the spreading of trends because the real world doesn’t keep track of how people acquire new items or preferences.

But the virtual world Second Life does. Researchers from the University of Michigan have taken advantage of this unique information to study how “gestures” make their way through this online community. Gestures are code snippets that Second Life avatars must acquire in order to make motions such as dancing, waving or chanting.

Roughly half of the gestures the researchers studied made their way through the virtual world friend by friend.

“We could have found that most everyone goes to the store to buy gestures, but it turns out about 50 percent of gesture transfers are between people who have declared themselves friends. The social networks played a major role in the distribution of these assets,” said Lada Adamic, an assistant professor in the School of Information and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Adamic is an author of a paper on the research that graduate student Eytan Bakshy will present on July 7 at the Association for Computer Machinery’s Conference on Electronic Conference in Stanford, Calif. Bakshy is a doctoral student in the School of Information.

“There’s been a high correspondence between the real world and virtual worlds,” Adamic said. “We’re not saying this is exactly how people share in the real world, but we believe it does have some relevance.”

This study is one of the first to model social influence in a virtual world because of the rarity of having access to information about how information, assets or ideas propagate. In Second Life, the previous owner of a gesture is listed.

The researchers also found that the gestures that spread from friend to friend were not distributed as broadly as ones that were distributed outside of the social network, such as those acquired in stores or as give-aways.

And they discovered that the early adopters of gestures who are among the first 5-10 percent to acquire new assets are not the same as the influencers, who tend to distribute them most broadly. This aligns with what social scientists have found.

“In our study, we sought to develop a more rigorous understanding of social processes that underlies many cultural and economic phenomena,” Bakshy said. “While some of our findings may seem quite intuitive, what I find most exciting is that we were actually able to test some rather controversial and competing hypotheses about the role of social networks in influence.”

The researchers examined 130 days worth of gesture transfers in late 2008 and early 2009. They looked at 100,229 users and 106,499 gestures. They obtained the data from Linden Lab, the maker of Second Life. Personally-identifying information had been removed.

 

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The paper is called, “Social Influence and the Diffusion of User-Created Content.” The research is funded by the National Science Foundation. Physics graduate student Brian Karrer is also a co-author.

For more information:

Full text of paper:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ladamic/

ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce:
http://www.sigecom.org/ec09/

August 9, 2008

Real health study in virtual world

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:34 pm

This is both interesting and maybe a harbinger of the future. An actual health study will be conducted in the virtual world of Second Life.

The linked press release:

TORC at UH turns to virtual world of Second Life for new study

International Health Challenge seeks participants for obesity prevention research

The University of Houston department of health and human performance is launching an international effort to recruit 500 participants for a study promoting healthy dietary habits and physical activity. The study will take place entirely in the virtual world of Second Life (SL).

The project is part of the UH Texas Obesity Research Center’s (TORC) International Health Challenge, and offers an enjoyable way for participants to learn about preventing and treating obesity through education, skills training and outreach.

“This is an excellent opportunity to learn and practice these new behaviors in a virtual environment and in real life,” said Rebecca Lee, associate professor and director of TORC. “It’s also a great place to meet other avatars and share information and experiences.”

The TORC International Health Challenge in Second Life will provide opportunities for avatars to earn Lindens—the currency of Second Life—for walking on treadmills, riding bikes and trying new fruits and vegetables in Second Life. Participants compete to earn “Challenge Points” for their healthy behaviors. The country team that earns the most Challenge Points will win the International Health Challenge. Materials will be available in English, French and Spanish.

TORC was an awardee of the University of Southern California-Annenberg School for Communication’s Network Culture Project: Second Life and the Public Good Community Challenge. TORC will develop space in Second Life, create games and interactive learning opportunities and reward avatars when they join the International Health Challenge and participate in health behaviors in Second Life.

“We hope to develop multi-national collaborations in SL to increase awareness, knowledge, skills and support for healthy living,” Lee said. “Reducing obesity is an international priority, and SL provides a portal to an international community.” Lee has conducted extensive research on the subject of obesity, in particular the neighborhood factors that may lead to obesity, such as availability and quality of fresh produce, and the quality and quantity of physical activity resources available in neighborhoods.

 

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Participants must be members of Second Life and can visit http://slurl.com/secondlife/HHP%20at%20UH/128/128/0 to sign up.

For more information, participants can instant message Sirina Felisimo or Samu Sirnah in Second Life or call TORC at 713-743-9310.

For more information about TORC at the University of Houston, please visit: http://grants.hhp.coe.uh.edu/obesity/