The Disruptive Power of Second Life
Second Life – A Disruptive Technology
Six useful forces that drive emerging technologies on a path of change are: evolutionary technologies, rhymes of history, disruptive technologies, science fiction, increasing returns, and Red Queens (Laureate Education, 2009). Disruptive technologies, as one of these forces of change, have become almost common language within the educational field. However, the term disruptive innovation was coined by Clayton Christensen, which describes a process by which a product or service start out at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up and displace established competitors (Clayton Christensen, 2014). Dr. Christensen explained in his media segment that disruptive innovation transforms a product that was so historically expensive and complicated that only a few people with a large amount of money and skill had access to it. A disruptive innovation makes the technology much more affordable and accessible that a larger population than before has access to it. Second Life can be seen as an emerging disruptive technology that disrupts expensive virtual world technologies and will most likely move up to the top of the virtual communication market.
Technology or Innovation that Second Life Displaces
Second Life might have emerged from social networking sites, and their accompanying social trends such as group chats and multiplayer gaming. As an emerging technology, second life not only disrupts virtual meeting technologies such as telepresence, but also online discussion boards. Businesses from various industries are now capitalizing on second life innovations, using them to eliminate travel cost because they are able to connect live and direct via avatars within second life environments.
Also, I think that cloud computing has opened the door for the expansion of second life particularly where processing power is concerned. This is because processing can now be carried out by numerous servers on server farms. In other words, anyone connected to the internet these days can enter second life environments with almost any type of device (computer, tablet, smart phones or smart TVs).
Another emerging Technology Possibly during the Next 10 Years
In terms of possible future impact, I would say that second life technology will most likely bring about both negative and positive impacts to society. For example, maybe in the future, online education will run live in second life environments. Maybe face-to-face learning might dwindle because of the richness of second life in the future, especially if second life evolves to the extent where the entire environment becomes holographic and include digital senses technology such as smell and touch. One negative consequence to having an enhanced version of second life is that people might spend too much time in their “second life” and not in the real world. Persons with obsessive personalities may become addicted to the technology and end up losing their sense of how to communicate in the real world.
Christensen, C. (2002). The innovation economy: How technology is transforming existing industries and creating new ones [Video]. Retrieved from http://video.mit.edu/watch/the-innovation-economy-how-technology-is-transforming-existing-industries-and-creating-new-ones-9844/.
Clayton Christensen. (2014).Disruptive Innovation. Retrieved from http://www.claytonchristensen.com/key-concepts/#sthash.3nG7JD7E.dpuf.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2009). Emerging and future technology: Six forces that drive emerging technologies. Baltimore, MD: Author.