Monday, November 17, 2008

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New World Newsfeed: Barack Obama Appoints Two Second Life Residents To His FCC Transition Team

Susan_crawford Kevin_werbach_2 President-Elect Barack Obama has appointed University of Michigan law professor Susan Crawford and Wharton School professor Kevin Werbach to the Federal Communications Commission Review team; as such, they'll be reviewing US government telecommunication policy and advising changes as the Obama Administration takes over.  Crawford and Werbach are passionate advocates of net neutrality.  "This bodes very very well indeed for American telcoms policy!" enthuses Net freedom advocate Cory Doctorow. 

Indeed it does.  So does this fact: they're both Second Life Residents.  Not regular users, most likely, but even more significant, well-versed in its potential and its broader importance.  Here's Crawford, writing about Second Life on her blog:

I'm not a very agile presence in Second Life just yet; if you see an avatar spinning and gesturing meaninglessly, that's me... Artists and all sorts of other people have adopted the SL language, and they're producing like mad.  They're building museums and stores and planes and taxis, both individually and in groups.  Cory [Ondrejka] says a big bump in productivity happened after SL announced it was giving IP rights to subscribers in their creations... So I'm a huge fan of Second Life, and I hope to be able to figure out how to talk to the people there at some point.

And Werbach, explaining to BusinessWeek why he added a video stream into SL from the Supernova conference he founded:

We have had a long-standing interest in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and, with the Connected Innovators program, we wanted to experiment with the idea of a virtual showcase. Virtual worlds like Second Life are an extraordinary playground; they give you tremendous freedom to experiment, which is why they are so exciting.

What's this mean for Second Life and OpenSim?  Of course, as a bandwidth-heavy application, net neutrality is an important topic for the metaverse.  But other government policy issues under their purview, including intellectual property law online and content regulation, are also crucial.  What happens after the transition remains to be seen, of course, but for the first time, US government officials who might have a direct impact on the future of the metaverse are fully aware of why it matters.

Hat tip: Cory Doctorow.  Photos of Crawford and Werbach by Joi Ito, from his Flickr stream.


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Bettina Tizzy

I got goose bumps reading this! Indeed, what does this mean for Second Life and OpenSim?

Doubledown Tandino

I'll chime in and say, no, the fact they are in SL doesn't have any relation to appointed roles. However, it can't hurt us, the SLers.

Obama over the next year is gonna go major hifi, wifi, technicolor, surroundsound, boombastic, IP, .com, myspace, yourspace, we-all space....

Obama, and his views on technology, and the two appointed members is only going to be a good thing. And down the line, I do believe Barack, and generally a official democratic commission may make presence in SL. Cubsfan Pugilist (sp?) is already are main obama-rally leader... and now we may have the connection needed for SL users to directly reach the oval office.... or perhaps they may finally decide on a new oval office SL holodeck

Darien Mason

Perhaps we'll have an administration that doesn't assume SL is a training ground for RL terrorists and a refuge for money launderers.

Adz Childs

@Darien, well said.
Don't forget virtual rape rooms and virtual boxes labeled with the word "Meth", whatever that is supposed to represent.
Maybe now there will be a voice of opposition to this pure absurdity.

Ann Otoole

The test will be if the practice of broadband access providers are ordered to set the base monthly quota at 250GB or more. Timne Warner wants to kill the internet with their 40GB cap.

In fact they should simply lose their license over stuff like this and be run out of business so smart companies with modern technology can use the market for technology advancement. The corroded copped internet providers are not interested in advancing the technology or the capacity. All they want is more money for less service. These people need to be driven from business permanently and not be allowed to be employed in any technology business for the rest of their lives. Only by destroying the lives of the stupidly greedy will the problem of greed be resolved.

Most likely these political appointees will be yes men/women on the corporate leash and will serve no purpose whatsoever save funneling cash into pockets of their masters. I would love to be proven wrong. I no longer have any faith in the US government at all. I am not alone in this regard.

Ann Otoole

The test will be if the broadband access providers are ordered to set the base monthly byte transfer cap quota at 250GB or higher.

Neptune Rebel

This is great news! And I feel even more connected to it because Kevin Werbach is the professor that introduced me to Second Life when I was at Penn. Without him, I never would have even thought about SL. It's awesome to see he has this position.

Doubledown Tandino

Considering the current RL political news...
I wouldnt be suprised if Cindy McCain divorces John McCain INSIDE of Second Life.

Meanwhile look out for the new "Joe The Island" coming soon where I here you can ride in a helocopter and hunt moose.

Sue Mahar

President Elect Barak Obama is wasting no time pulling the country back together (after a grueling 8 years with that other president of ours). During his campaign, Obama used technology and social networks to communicate to the people. Wise move. He is obviously in tune with the majority of U.S. citizens and is appointing qualified candidates to positions that will continue his momentum through the next four to eight years. Congratulations to Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach for their new appointments.

Gary Kohime

I don't think you'll need to worry about broadband companies squeezing the pipe on bandwidth. Its like most companies, competition will drive the speed.

Not only that, and not sure who knows this but this is whats coming for broadband. Ironically its called "The Grid" and was invented by the same creators of the Internet, CERN. We are going to see speeds go up to 10,000 times faster than we see today. As of now universities and research institutes are using it. This is just how it went with the birth of the Internet..first education and research sectors and it spread from there. Its inevitable.

Want to read more on this> see this URL>>

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