What books, anthropology, grandchildren and virtual worlds like Second Life have in common

Books have long served as “immersion technologies” that transport people to alternate worlds. Today, computer technology takes immersion several steps further.

Peter Crabb, associate professor of psychology, in a book review on Centre Daily

Peter Crabb reviewed an insightful sounding book written by anthropologist Tom Boellstorff, without naming it: Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human

Boellstorff spent 2 years living among the residents of Second Life, observing and studying their customs like anthopologists do with other cultures. I ordered the book and am curious about his point of view.

And I already agree with one of his findings: there will be a time when our children will find a distinction between „virtual world“ and „real world“ ridiculous – and impossible.

William Gibson reportedly said so, too:

One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real, the virtual from the real. In the future, that will become literally impossible. William Gibson [picture by will lion, flickr]

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