The Potential of End-User-Programmable Worlds: Present and Future

Wednesday, 8 August
10:30 am - 12:15 pm
Room 6 DE

In Vernor Vinge's 1981 science fiction classic True Names, a global multi-user virtual world underlies the functioning of government and business. Some control this world in a literal-minded, filing-cabinet fashion, and others with more colorful metaphors. Either style of interaction is a form of end-user programming. The power of cyberspace lies in the creativity and programming talent of its inhabitants.

Has that day arrived? Some view end-user-programmable virtual worlds like Linden Labs' Second Life as a meaningful step in that direction. In fact, end-user-programmable worlds had their start in text-based virtual worlds: MUDs (1979) and MOOs (1990). Are these systems just a different style of multi-player game, or is something happening with broader implications? Will commerce embrace these worlds? What about education? Is the future "cyberspace" a world built in computer graphics, or is it more likely a proliferation of networked devices in real space? In this panel discussion, we consider the present and the future of end-user-programmable graphical worlds.

Organizers

Jessica K. Hodgins
Carnegie Mellon University

Amy Bruckman
Georgia Institute of Technology

Panelists

Paul Hemp
Harvard Business Review

Asi Lang
Linden Labs

Vernor Vinge
San Diego State University