Virtual Worlds and Ethics – Week 11

  • What do the authors mean when they say they don’t want the outcome of exploring this idea of virtual learning, conceptual blending and the networked imagination, etc. to be framed as “how does it translate to the ‘real’ world”?
  • What significance do any of these readings maintain after the digital divide is taken into account? In other words, does this entire body of research effect those in Africa who will never use a computer in their lives? How?
  • This one sentence from “A Rape in Cyberspace” demonstrates a lot about the dilemmas virtual worlds present: “Ludicrously excessive by RL’s lights, woefully understated by VR’s, the tone of exu’s response made sense only in the buzzing, dissonant gap between them.” We can’t control sex crime in the real world, how can we possibly begin to in cyberspace–something we’re just beginning to study? To be idealistic for a second, might this be an opportunity to create a system of justice that works better than the one in the real world? How might that look?

(note to self: this article is interesting. partic this part:

Moving, and maybe even illuminating. In the end, no matter what they say, life on the Internet really is a serious business. It matters. But the tricky thing is that it matters above all because it mostly doesn’t — because it conjures bits of serious human connection from an oceanic flow of words, pictures, videoclips, and other weightless shadows of what’s real. The challenge is sorting out the consequential from the not-so-much. And, if Rich Kyanka’s steely equanimity is any example, the antics of the Goons and /b/tards might actually sharpen our ability to make that distinction. To those who think the griefers’ handiwork is simply inexcusable: Well, being inexcusable is, after all, the griefers’ job. Ours is to figure out that caring too much only gives them more of the one thing they crave: the lulz. )


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