State of Play III

Caroline and I will be speaking at the State of Play III conference that begins tomorrow, so we — and the boys too — are off to New York until Sunday. Caroline is talking about financial markets in virtual worlds. My role is more in the entertainment line, as I’ve been asked to play the role of judge in “The Great Debate” — a mock trial format concerning the role of terrestrial law in virtual worlds. (Since I have rather violent views on that subject, it’s at once flattering and frustrating to be trusted to do a neutral summing up and to rule on who made better arguments. Worse, I have good friends on both sides of the debate.)

State of Play I was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended; I had to miss SoP II, so I’m looking forward to this very much. [I blogged an amusing incident from SoP I under the title How Not to Pick Up Women Online. One unanticipated consequence was an absolute horde of visitors to the site who had googled for that phrase minus the “not”.]

For State of Play I, Caroline and I wrote our first joint paper, Virtual Worlds, Real Rules (background and more background). In it we argued that Virtual Worlds would make excellent environments for subjecting various classes of proposed legal rules to near-real-world testing. It was intriguing therefore to hear on NPR this afternoon that sociologists and epidemiologists may run simulations of plague-induced behavior using games such as World of Warcraft (avian flu anyone?) — an idea that alas they do not seem to have gotten from our paper but rather from an actual virtual-life incident.

It will be the first conference in years that Caroline and I have tried to attend together, and just to make it more exciting we are taking the boys with us, also a first since when they were very very small. We have lined up a very small amount of child care, but mostly we’re going to be relying on our own, and the boys’, resources.

Trendy as all get out, State of Play III will be podcast as well as webcast.

Meanwhile, blogging may be sparse…

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2 Responses to State of Play III

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    Hey, I’ll see you there! Won’t arrive until Friday p.m. because I didn’t want my son to miss too much school, but he’ll be along too.

  2. Martin says:

    I read your linked post on how not to pick up virtual girls (for the first time) and will make two comments on it:

    1. According to mythology, Zeus, in various guises (Swan etc.) used to pick up girls at the then equivalent of coffee houses all the time.

    2. The anecdote about a game designer’s disclosure of his identity being a conversation stopper is reminiscent of a story in one Richard Feynman’s books of autobiographical anecdotes. Feynman says that, as a new, and newly widowed, assistant professor at Cornell after World War II, he tried to meet girls at student mixers. As a result of telling some of his would-be pick ups that he was an assistant professor of physics and had worked on the Atom Bomb, he pomptly got a reputation as an obvious lier pathetically trying to impress.

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