Virtual Reality


“I come from Colombia where we produce all these drugs that you don’t take, so for me what happens in Second Life [and World of Warcraft] where people kill each other at funerals seems more real in many ways than Harvard where everything is so nice and so beautiful. The sense of reality is so subjective in so many ways.”

That is a direct quote of the final comment from the in-person class today, from Nieman Fellow Juanita. If that doesn’t make you want to see the lecture for yourself, nothing will. Speaking seriously, today’s class was the best class we’ve had so far. Led by guests Gene Koo and Rodica Buzescu/Ansible Berkman, we had a fantastic discussion of all kinds of issues involving virtual worlds (immigration, law, (sur)-reality, governance) with colorful, insightful, and challenging contributions from many people.

We began class with a video introducting virtual worlds that you can find in the Lecture Videos section of the Week 3 page. (This video was designed by Gene and produced by Dean.) We then went directly to a FABULOUS segment from Rob Cordry and the Daily Show that, in only a few very funny minutes, brings up many of the most challenging and interesting questions about virtual worlds. It is a must see. The lecture itself is available on the Week 3 page too. But I recommend that you watch it using the Democracy player and keep the class notes from the Week Page in another window. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Democracy is an open source video viewer that has a channel especially for us! You can subscribe in 1-click on the side bar on the right side of this page. You’ll get every video from our class in a beautiful presentation. (A law student in our class reported a bug in the player and it has already been fixed–open source at its best!) I also recommend perusing the great contextual material on the rest of the Week 3 page, put together by a strong group of law students.

— Rebecca Nesson

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