Wagner James Au: "Virtual Reality"


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By Melinda Byerley. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Second Life is widely credited for mainstreaming the concept of the metaverse as a virtual social platform—and today’s guest, James Au, invites us in to hear the inside scoop on how this platform foreshadowed today’s social media and virtual worlds, both in promise and in pitfalls.

A freelance tech journalist at the time, James was hired to report on the Second Life metaverse shortly after its launch in 2003. He created an avatar and focused on the real-life stories that could get both inspiring and wild, ranging from users who were homeless in real life building virtual mansions to real-life private detectives hired to determine if someone was virtually cheating on their virtual significant other.

Author of "The Making of Second Life,” James describes what the platform was originally conceived to be like and explains what he means when he calls Second Life “the biggest mystery in Silicon Valley.” And you don’t even need an avatar to listen.

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