To be honest, reading Synthetic Worlds by Edward Castronova freaked me out a lot.  I admit that I am a sucker for social media technologies but virtual worlds are not my thing.  Through social media we can share moments and thoughts with our entire friend group, even from thousands of miles away. For me, as I am sure many others, I have friends living all over the world right now.  My brother is in the Marines and stationed in Hawaii, my best friend lives in Las Vegas, and my other good friend is living in Los Angeles.  A handful of my friends are in Pittsburgh, where I used to go to school, and another friend is living in Florida.  Social Media is a great way to stay connected with each others lives despite being distances away.  However, I don’t believe this replaces real life interactions, much like I don’t think living through glasses with avatars will either.  I believe moments and experiences are what help develop and maintain relationships.  Social Media and virtual worlds with avatars are tools that can be used to stay connected but I think that it is important to takes trips and spend actual real life physical time with people.  The article mentions that a possible scenario in the future might be “Some people spend so much time online that they have not left their homes in over two years”. That is ridiculous! If our world ever really gets to that point I will be mind blown. It is really hard for me to understand how someone could possibly replace all real life moments, relationships, and experiences with virtual ones.

That being said, on one of the first pages the article quotes The National Academy, “There is little doubt that the status quo in higher education cannot, and should not, be maintained as this ‘disruptive’ digital technology finds its way into every corner of our society, and in ever more significant ways… Academics should approach issues and decisions on information technology in that spirit—not as threats but as opportunities”. I saw this and thought to myself that this pretty much sums up the DCIM minor and this course.   The DCIM minor has opened my eyes to many technologies I had no idea about, how people are using them (especially in the workplace) and positives and negatives.  It is important to notice that these technologies do have set backs.  Face-to-face communication has it’s benefits but so does online virtual work.  I know that technology is constantly developing and we are moving into a more virtual centered way of working, but I am scared of it.

Advertisements