The virtual fantasy world, Second Life, was attacked for at least the second time this weekend . Self replicating rings bogged down the servers, disrupting players on the site, giving us a short-term virtual model of Eric Drexler’s grey goo scenario wherein self-replicating nanotech machines destroy the Earth by using up the surface resources.
There’s a bioethics discussion in there, somewhere. At least, we should contemplate how much our lives have changed in the last 10 years due to the Internet and the improvements in the ‘Net and our access to it. (And don’t get me started on Digital Video Recorders. I keep trying to re-wind the rest of my world when I realize that I missed bits and pieces – or, heaven forbid, what the bits and pieces meant.)
I’ve never had the patience it takes to build an avatar and personality in one of the virtuals. I did try ‘way back in 1996, on e-something or the other. Instead, being a data-junky, I get lost at Google, GoogleNews, and all the blogs that I try to follow (not to mention my mini-fantasy-vacations when I use up bandwith with wishes at Travelocity or Expedia).
However, I can sympathize with the designation of the attacks as “Grief Bombs.” I’ve suffered along with others when attacks in the form of worms, viruses, and overwhelming volumes of email have been able to slow down the Web or shut down servers for specific sites. Recently, I’ve had from troubles with my on-line and off-line computer activities, thanks to a not-so-helpful Internet Security Suite update from McAfee.
Over the next couple of days, many of us in the US will be traveling, away from our wi-fi access and high-speed connections in general. We will be interfacing in the real world with our families and over-stuffing our tummies, mostly without discussion about the ethics of the production, distribution and consumption. (My family might get into the discussion over at the New Scientist about whether science can replace religion, and when we do, it will make my husband and some of the other inlaws uncomfortable or bored.)(There, I knew I could work the NS’ “God Question” in, somehow.)
Y’all will hear/read much more eloquent comments from others about the blessings we enjoy, but I want to remind you to be aware, be good, be safe, and enjoy.