State of Play V: A gathering call for citizens and researchers of the Metaverse
July 16th, 2007

With many thanks to Beth Noveck.

Since 1992, when Neal Stephenson came up in his novel, Snow Crash, with the notion of metaverse, the development of 3D virtual spaces really followed a “Big Bang” model, virtually exploding into the physical space, taking over it, and gaining an ever increasing importance. As an example, these days Second Life and World of Warcraft are in close competition for their number of residents, as they are virtual worlds exceeding 8 million inhabitants by now. People don’t just play any longer; they started living within the boundaries of the virtual realms, in their forms of games, social spaces, or educational environments.

The growing impact of the Metaverse started to be recognized progressively when various conferences and events, like the pretty recent spring edition of the Virtual Worlds 2007, begun to be organized around the cyberspace. Still, many such events wear a Western hallmark and are restrained to a specific unilateral approach, be it focused on business, community or design issues. All this can create disciplinary and cultural gaps in the Metaverse’s research methodologies and also within the cyberspace itself, making harder the integrated process of understanding and innovating.

Organized by Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, New York Law School, Trinity University, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, State of Play Conference V comes to fill in or prevent those gaps by a multidisciplinary and multicultural approach. It’s going to take place in Singapore (August 19-22, 2007), gathering together representatives from all over the world. The huge virtual markets of China, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines will get the chance to make their voices heard. The experts meeting there will speak about things like:

  • Cross-cultural communication and avatar-to-avatar diplomacy
  • Strategies for understanding behaviors and values of virtual world residents
  • Regulating speech, property, and addiction in the Metaverse
  • Building transnational businesses in virtual worlds
  • Using virtual environments to teach students of all ages
  • Space, place, and virtual world cultures
  • If you are interested in this event, you’ll find everything you need to know at the official site, specially created for this conference.


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