Radicalizing the Metaverse, Bring Your Daughter to a Conference in Second Life

Serena Siesta 2 (moderate)

I’m using Serena Siesta 2 as the backdrop for part of this post because, in a strange way, it reminds me of the Metaverse. We’ve been part of it, and people have been working on it, for years, but it’s really still bright, and shiny, and new.

Something cool, metaversally speaking, is happening over the next two days and I’m going to make a radical suggestion.

Serena Siesta 2 (moderate)

The first Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo starts today (Monday, May 19) and runs through til 6:00pm SLT tomorrow. Part of the proceedings will be streamed live in Second Life (thanks to AView) and you can watch at the LEA Theatre. The entire schedule is here but there are two sessions we can attend inworld.

Philip Rosedale will be presenting the keynote address this afternoon at 2:00 pm SLT. He’s always interesting, but the one I think will be the most fascinating takes place tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 pm SLT.

Serena Siesta 2 (moderate)

There will be a panel discussion on Creating the VR Metaverse. The group, including Philip and Ebbe Altberg (Linden Lab’s CEO), will address the following questions:

  • One global metaverse or many?
  • Identity and Privacy
  • Virtual World Governance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Avatar Portability and Standards

Now for the radical bit. Look at this list of the conference speakers and panelists. Now look at this next photo from one of the monthly meetings of the group hosting the conference.

SVVR Monthly Meeting

All of these individuals are smart and, I’m sure, interesting. They are also the ones determining the future of our Metaverse. I don’t think I’m alone, though, in noticing a distinct gender imbalance.

I have nothing against men (or even white men, as Otenth points out the overwhelming paleness of those involved), I just don’t see why they should have all the fun. I suggest that if you have a daughter, or know a girl/woman who loves technology and wants to be part of creating something really cool, that you bring her to tomorrow’s session. Have her look over your shoulder while they describe the future of virtual reality.

She might wind up being one of the key players in something which is only going to get bigger and more amazing. It’s an “out of the box” idea I know, still I’d like to hear some women’s voices in those future discussions and it would be a really wonderful way for her to both make a living and have a lasting impact. :)

Lea Theatre (general)
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16 Comments

  1. Bring your daughter…

    Reply
  2. Otenth Paderborn

     /  May 19, 2014

    Wow. Bring your friends of color, too.

    Reply
    • LOLOL very true :) One black guy and one hispanic woman, in the list of speakers/panelists, do not diversity make. Some more voices are required.

      Reply
    • Yeah but when we show up, they get really mad once we start talking and pointing out things to them. The tech industry is not just good at mansplaining, its got a whole section of the manual devoted to whitesplaining to explain away non-white folks and to belittle our perceptions of this issue.

      Reply
      • see I’m not saying the conference organizers are sexist or racist. I think the industry is just not representative of the metaversal population.

        More variety would be a good thing – virtual reality is young enough that there’s no reason for the status quo to be vanilla.

        I’m thinking of the “girls don’t game” issue and hoping VR will be smarter. :)

      • A recent study showed gender differences in how people process spatial reality and this leading to ‘VR sickness’ in women because the tech is being designed to display the male signals…
        The industry response was the usual death and rape threats…

      • Regarding the issues you’ve pointed out, I must say I find it alarming that there are several women that are very eager to join those guys who try to censor (because trolling aims to censor, discourage, stifle and suppress one’s freedom of speech) women with rape and death threats (not to mention the eyeroll-inducing “oh you’re really a guy IRL” bullshit). The tech industry has huge gender and race issues.

  3. Aeon and I plan to attend today, and perhaps tomorrow as well. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what is being said in tech circles about the future of VR and virtual worlds. We were impressed (in a positive way) by both Philip’s and Ebbe’s keynotes at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference last month, and are eager to hear more.
    Thank you for posting about this, Honour. We would have (and might yet!), but we are on a brief blogging hiatus as summer nears; but – never fear! – we shall return! Mireille Jenvieve-Woodford giggles at her rather self-important comment. Wheeee!

    Reply
  4. PS: I agree with you, Honour – there are yet several industries that seem to be populated mostly by men, and various technology-based businesses are certainly among them. Some of this is interest based, but that is less and less true as more and more women learn about their capacities and explore alternatives in regard to professional choices.
    Your statement seemed an honest appraisal of where we are in our world with work and gender – women are still under-represented in several professions AND are largely underpaid. These are issues important to generations of women – and men. The third wave of the women’s movement (if that’s what we’re going to continue to call it) has some absolutely stellar women making major contributions to culture and society. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is only one, but her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a recent testament to the importance of women’s issues in the world of work. Some agree with her and some disagree, but WOW, what a conversation starter!
    One or both of us will be back for the conference media stream this afternoon (as long as we can login and stay logged in – which we can’t do right now. Soon, I hope!).

    Reply
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