Second Life: over-hyped or scientifically significant? [@Cnet]
"After all, what is Second Life and others like it but a first attempt at replicating our world in virtual space? That's huge. The implications are no different from space travel, robotics, stem cell research, or any other significant advancement in science. As such, it warrants attention and scrutiny so people can learn from other's mistakes and become inspired to take the technology to the next level.
Think about it. Not that long ago there was no internet, now we depend on it. A scant nine years ago, Google's founders were having trouble getting funding for a search engine company. Now its market cap is $160 billion. Who's to say we won't find ourselves completely immersed in virtual reality worlds in ten years?
And Second Life - even in its present form - is a potentially significant development platform, not to mention a business opportunity to drive demand for internet infrastructure, processing power, memory capacity, software, gaming, and the like. I don't even want to consider the implications for pornography.
Not only is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, it's also a primary mechanism for the advancement of human civilization. Second Life may have a long way to go to fulfill its hype, but as the first baby steps toward imitating the real world in cyberspace, it demands close attention. After all, that's how we humans learn."