Virtual World Administrators: Service Requests in Cyberspace

Virtual reality began, like anything else, as a concept. It started appearing in science fiction decades ago. A short story by Ray Bradbury published in 1950 entitled “The Veldt” imagined parents installing their children in a nursery that utilized new technology to stimulate all senses in response to thought, functioning as a virtual world.

As the 20th century passed, actual virtual worlds developed in the form of video games, training software and equipment. Virtual reality began being manufactured and marketed as ensembles incorporating electronic gloves and a helmet covering the user’s eyes, enveloping his or her senses in order to manipulate them. In 1993, the popular, now defunct, comedy show “The Kids In the Hall” aired a sketch called “Virtual Reality” in which one of the troupe’s actors, Scott Thompson, tested such an ensemble and remarked: “The technology is still very crude. You can basically get the same effects from sitting too close to the TV. But then there’s no hat!”

Now virtual reality has moved over to the Internet. Virtual worlds such as Second Life allow users to interact in a 3-D environment where they can create goods and services, even buy and sell land. Although on a certain level, virtual worlds are self-sustaining environments run by fully empowered end users, they still require individuals to operate and maintain the technology behind them and govern the communities that populate them. This has given rise to a relatively new type of IT professional: the virtual world administrator.

Daniel Margolis


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