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.
Meanwhile, blogging may be sparse…