Kim pauses for a picture in SL's Refugio, in between dance-pad sessions at the Barbie Club.
I didn't beat Hiro Pendragon, but I did beat Urizenus Sklar; the Herald is still silent on the 2007 predictions, and Uri has a lot of fast tap-dancing to do if he thinks his prediction in 2006 about a major Linden quitting the Lab over office hijinx is going to be about David Fleck -- meh, that's not enough of a scandal. Still, with 3 weeks left, a major Linden might still flame out, and prove Uri correct.
1. I predicted in 2006, before anybody, that it would be the Year of the Avatar. OK, I lied, I was a year too soon. 2007 will be the year of the avatar.
I said "We're all going to be so amazingly cool, because we already have -- we already *are*? -- avatars." And that will be the essence of the debate: do we *have* or *are* we avatars, i.e. immersion or augmentation? I happened to write last year's post about the problem of p2p and immersion and the avatar. I predicted that new versions of the avatar would drop out the background and make the avatar more central. MySpace is met half-way by Linden Lab lagging us even further and delaying stability by putting the ability to upload webpages into our avatar's profile. We're a long way from "smooth" and still very much in that "clunky" that Philip admits. Still, avatars will be so central that people will print their names on business cards.
2. Hiro conceives of 2007 as Script Kiddies' heaven, as the lid will be blown off SL and everything will be copybotted not by CopyBot, but by residents' realizing that their biggest threat to creativity is each others' competitiveness (gosh, what a surprise!). So only scripted thingies will win. I predict that scripted thingies will not win, and furthermore, a way to figure out how to hack and copy scripts will happen. How? Well, I dunno, I'm not a script kiddie. But I feel it in my bones. If the same pheno that enables anything seen by our eyeballs to be copyable works as a system, then the possibility for me to see my own script as I write it in my own inventory on my script pad before I set permissions on it means that it can be hacked and copied. I mean, duh, why do you think I find copies of complicated expensive stuff like Maya on my kids' computers long past the trial period?
3. I continue to maintain my essential prediction for Linden Lab and Second Life will occur:
o They will form a non-profit organization and get a major government and/or foundation grant and make a 501-c-3 that will do much of the testing and educational use of SL -- they will essentially keep the soul of the new machine.
o They will find a way to either outsource management of, or license software to, or make registration APIs for, some company or companies that will relieve them of much of the burden of newbies as we now know them.
o They will allow IBM and other big businesses to have their own grids not connected to the grid where we labour and suffer. It will be like Second Life 2.0 with a clean boot.
4. One senior Linden of some sort, not like a David Fleck but more basic to the tribe, will flame out and maybe even Tell All in a magazine article or forthcoming book. They will be hired away by some huge competitor -- it might be There by that time.
5. Philip Linden will actually try to raise mainland tier to $295/month and not grandfather mainland sim tier the way he did for islands, and he will actually mumble some preposterous ridicularity in a TownHall about how this is some kind of proper pricing because mainland represents some sort of deeper ownership of some sort than islands. He will raise the tier to $295 on whole sims, thereby reducing the discount, and will remove the group bonus, and actually also have the temerity to lower tiers below the half sim mark to ease ownership for legions of newbs.
6. Xerox Corporation will join Second Life, route a major portion of their xeroxing activity through SL the way they currently have machines that do all the stuff from you, and the resulting activity will actually cause a power outage, not only at Linden Lab, but in an entire neighbourhood of San Francisco. It will be like Tesla on Hudson Street. (Ok, just testing to see if you're still reading).
7. The new Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, will meet the leader of North Korea,k Kim Jong-il, within Second Life, and avert a nuclear holocaust. The two will play golf in Hollywood. Philip Linden will beg to be their caddy. I'm serious. This will happen. You heard it here first! And please, don't be dissing me on this, it's true: Kim Jong-il has a collection of 20,000 James Bond tapes and the like in his pleasure palace. He's probably already *in* Second Life on an alt as we speak. So it's really not at all farfetched.
8. The U.S. Congress will hold its first major hearing about virtual worlds and online games, Robin and Cory Linden will testify; Hilary Clinton will be brought on board; but many other senators will be aghast at the ageplay and Gor, and only assiduous bribery by huge corporations (as Andrew Linden explains) will keep it all going. Membership will triple as a result.
9. Russians and former Soviets will all get a "vtoraya zhizn'" and will crop up everywhere as both innovators and oldest professionals. LL, the FBI, and other entities will be forced to make use of Prokofy's first-life translating skills LOL.
10. A suicide will be played out inside Second Life, and send shockwaves through the Internet, the media, the blogosphere and then likely be revealed either as a hoax, or unrelated to SL per se but be caused by RL drugs.
11. Having run out of venues to ban Prokofy from, the Lindens will decide to ban Prokofy completely from SL and strip him of his many assets. A peer review will decide not only to ban him, but castrate him in RL, too. Prokofy will be forced to sue LL with the services of James Goodale, eminent First Amendment attorney, the Pentagon Papers lawyer of the Times who took on the U.S. government during the Vietnam War. The case will drag on, no settlement will be made, and in the end, the Lindens will alow Prokofy to return on a lesser known alt. Another team of lawyers will take up the case and Prokofy will be offered a book contract. Finally, Philip will send Prokofy a check for $27,512.47 and urge him to just...go away...please...anywhere...just...don't come near me ever, ever again... Prokofy will take his check for $27,512.47 and buy real estate in a new virtual world to be released in 2008 by Disney.
12. SL will undergo a terrible blackout of its services that will last something like 48 hours. All kinds of dire predictions will be made. Many babies will be conceived during these two days as people are forced to go engage in RL sex. The baby boom caused by the SL blackout of '07 will have a considerable impact on the world. Out of this boom wave, one child will follow a star, and become the Leader of the Metaverse in the age to come...