Apparently, Second Life—an “online universe” that’s attracted hundreds of thousands of virtual denizens over the past few years—is onthe ropes, as cash-strapped financial backers have started to pull out. And it’s a real shame—not only for the people who’ve invested time and energy in their online lives, but also for the real, non-virtual planet.
Two recentstudies have shown that obsessive Second Life players have the second-lowest environmental impact of any demographic group in the US and Canada, trailing only the Amish. Apparently, online avatars consume fairly modest amounts of electricity; and their most dedicated human counterparts forego travel, consumption, and even showers, to pursue their online lives. As a result, the carbon footprint of a typical Second Life addict is just over one-third of the US average.
If Second Life goes under, some demographers predict a modest surge in consumption, as Second Lifers rejoin their first lives. But “modest” is a relative term; nationwide, the environmental impacts of Second Life’s demise could be roughly equal to adding a medium-sized city—like Boise or Spokane—to the US population. That’s a pretty big real-world impact from a virtual decision—and reason to think that the the true path to a healthy and sustainable planet lies in eschewing all forms of human contact, in favor of the comforting blue glow of computer monitors.
It’s a lesson that I’m certainly taking to heart.
UPDATE: Since this is now in our archives, rather than the homepage, I’ll make one thing clear: it’s an April Fools’ Day post, so don’t take it seriously.
It’s good to know that my tendency to spend so much time in front of a screen is slashing my carbon footprint.
Would it be better for government subsidies to keep Second Life going? Where else are we going to get a Holodeck from? Then we could get rolled virtually. Now that would really save on carbon.
You mean Second Life has to “get a life” now?:-)
Doesn’t any reporter (“reporter”) do original research anymore? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to report that Second Life is in fact *not* on the ropes or dying (as the quickest glance at the user graphs will show), and that all the copycat reports saying that it is spring from like two disgruntled guys who did a bad job covering it and got reassigned, and some big companies realizing that they were using it wrong? (Not that it’s useless or dying, but that the particular way they were trying to use it was wrong.) I mean, sheesh!
I wonder how many “reporters” check the date on which information was published….