Jason Pontin, Technology Review’s editor in chief, introduces and reflects on “Second Earth,” the piece by contributing editor Wade Roush that is the July/August issue of the magazine’s cover story in this video. Pontin argues that the extraordinary success of virtual worlds, such as Linden Lab’s Second Life, and mirror worlds, such as Google Earth, can only partly be explained by new technologies including cheaper bandwidth, graphics cards, and free storage. Much more important was the decision of Linden Lab and Google to support an anarchic openness within their cyberworlds. Both companies have turned over control to users: any user can add almost anything to either environment. This decision has made Second Life and Google Earth into collaborative social communities with millions of registered users.
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