A Bridge Too Far?

IDF Fall 2008 - Intel opens IDF by explaining how it intends to make the digital world as real as the real world.

Another problem when it comes to bridging the gap between these two worlds is user generated content. One of the things that has elevated computers from work tools to social tools is user generated content, whether that be uploading videos to YouTube or posting your experiences on a blog. However, when it comes to building a believable digital world, it’s important that end users are able to create representations of their digital selves. The creation of avatars that reflect the individual is an important part of the virtual world experience, while anyone who has a Nintendo Wii will no doubt have spent some time creating a Mii, so that online friends will be able to recognise them.

Held highlighted how important it is for end users to create visual representations of themselves, but also that this process needed to be simple from the user end, despite involving complex methodology underneath. A good example of this is the creature creator in Will Wright’s forthcoming game, Spore. This is a game where the creature you create, and the entire ecosystem and planet that it lives on will be distributed to every other player in the world. Ultimately every player of the game has a chance of meeting the creatures that you create, while you can meet and interact with theirs. Of course in the case of Spore you’re creating cartoon like aliens, while Intel is suggesting that end users will be able to create lifelike human representations of themselves (or not) to populate the virtual world.

Obviously Held sees Intel’s many-core Tera-scale computing model as key to bridging the gap between real and virtual worlds, but Intel is also aware that there’s more to it than that. Just as important is the continued development of mobile computing, with future mobile devices able to capture personal sensory data and help to create that believable digital world. And with modern mobile devices incorporating high-speed data connections, all that data can be sent off for processing as it’s captured. Does that mean that we could have a virtual world that exists in parallel to the real world as it happens? Perhaps, but whether that would be a good thing is a different question altogether.

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