Currently I am working with two master students to construct experimental teaching facilities in Second Life. We purchased an Island and we began building "physical" facilities. Discussing what we want to "build" there is very interesting as it feels almost as if we are engaging in some type of a real construction project. Well, perhaps it is a real project, except that it is virtual. So, the whole meaning of real takes a new spin.
At any rate, among many ideas, we are going to build a design studio where our students will come and build new products in Second Life. We will also construct a library and students will add their own books -- their blogs, electronic books or articles, or links to a web site that has useful contents. We will need to build a social place. There we should allow people to play their music, perform drama, or just come in and relax. Unfortunately, much of this will be done behind a private wall. So, public won't be able to see it. It is mostly because Second Life has capacity limit. In order to provide open access to the public, we will set up a public area where anyone can stop by. There will be a video screen that shows what is going on inside. We will allow public to get a Day Pass to have field tour at our Design Studio.
The studio will be ready by early January next year. So, drop me a note -- I will send you an invitation when it is ready.
The digital transformation workshop is successfully completed. The participants were enthused and stimulated. The keynotes were excellent and inspiring. The small group presentations were equally inspiring and forward-looking. They identified a set of quite exciting ideas for the city of Philadelphia. The question is where do we go from here.
The idea of digital city as computing platform that induces civil engagement in the form of open source is an exciting one. The coalescence of the material world, the represented world, and virtual world to create a digital world is an exciting technological possibility. The resultant radically convergent digital urban environments can become a new form of social transformation just as steam engine transformed medieval cities into industrial ones. So, the digital technology enmeshed with material world and imagined virtual world is posed to transform the industrial city into something that we haven't seen before.
This technological possibility invites us into a design problem. It is a design problem because we can actively choose what to do, instead of doing what we are able to do. We have already seen possibilities of such new active world in the form of user-created contents, open source community and self-organizing teams on the web. The challenge is to bring the revolution in the realm of the representational world into the realm of material world. After all, we live with blood and flesh, and atoms and molecules, not just bits and bytes. But, experience of atoms and molecules can be transformed when they are added with bits and bytes.
We had a wonderful reception tonight. All the out-of-state participants safely arrived. Many local participants came to the workshop. Tomorrow is the big day. It is funny to stay at a hotel in your own town. I am staying at the Conwell Inn where most participants are staying. There will be a live blogging of the event here.