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French Couturier

Could virtual worlds help reduce real world pollution?

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This is just a hypothetical question. Could virtual worlds play a role in the future to help prevent real world carbon output? Of course it would first be necessary to develop faster and more energy efficient computers and servers. If this is achieved, I think virtual worlds could help prevent people from unecessary traveling and shopping/consumption in the real world that create much more carbon output than a virtual experience. It may not be real, but perhaps can provide the same fulfillment of boredom that people are seeking to fulfill when they shop or travel in the real world. The key I think is to create aesthetically pleasing virtual worlds with good graphics/lighting. Sansar looks pretty promising so far, but I think it still has some improvements to be made first.

 

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10 minutes ago, French Couturier said:

This is just a hypothetical question. Could virtual worlds play a role in the future to help prevent real world carbon output? Of course it would first be necessary to develop faster and more energy efficient computers and servers. If this is achieved, I think virtual worlds could help prevent people from unecessary traveling and shopping/consumption in the real world that create much more carbon output than a virtual experience. It may not be real, but perhaps can provide the same fulfillment of boredom that people are seeking to fulfill when they shop or travel in the real world. The key I think is to create aesthetically pleasing virtual worlds with good graphics/lighting. Sansar looks pretty promising so far, but I think it still has some improvements to be made first.

 

No, We already have sufficient tech to do video conferencing yet people still travel to meetings

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41 minutes ago, KanryDrago said:

No, We already have sufficient tech to do video conferencing yet people still travel to meetings

Maybe, but when it comes to shopping I think a good case could be made. In a virtual world you don't need storage or closet space, you can buy as much as you want and store it in your inventory. In addition, many objects are either free or inexpensive compared to buying real things. So you can behave like a shopping addict without harming the environment or your wallet. People's shopping addictions are one of the factors contributing to pollution, so virtual shopping might be a good alternative.

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When virtual worlds are as realistic as the real one, then a trip to a virtual beach or a walk in a virtual forest could replace doing those things in real life, saving on energy.  Of course, you wouldn't want to do that every time - you wouldn't get the exercise or fresh air, for example.  But if you did 8 trips to real beaches and spent 4 days on virtual ones that would save energy over 12 trips to a real beach - unless you already live at the seaside, of course!!

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I think this type of virtual world society would cause the collapse of whatever industry it replaces. I mean online shopping has closed down large brick and mortar clothing stores and malls. If we start going to virtual beaches and take virtual vacations there will be no need for tanned surf-instructors or lifeguards because no one will be there. We can also get rid of the tourism industry and remove all those hotels. Hawaii? Las Vegas? Let's get rid of those economies. We can probably get rid of all those winter towns where people go to ski. Close down the national parks and hiking trails. We can even get rid of Disneyland! We saved a lot of carbon emissions for sure. 

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Virtual worlds as the future of everything has had it's day, LL spent years chasing that dream, VR is just getting it's own reality check, and AR will no doubt run smack into the same wall very soon.

As much as it seems like a good idea, there is one tiny fundamental problem.

People like to go places to do stuff.

Going places and doing stuff, even at great expense or personal risk, is half the fun anything has to offer.

A fake trip to the beach will never replace actually going, no matter how 'realistic' it may be. It could offer an indistinguishable experience and it would still be the lesser option because you would know.

* Of course, it's unlikely this is base reality, so I guess everything is relative and ignorance is bliss ... carry on.

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On 7/27/2019 at 5:09 PM, French Couturier said:

This is just a hypothetical question. Could virtual worlds play a role in the future to help prevent real world carbon output? Of course it would first be necessary to develop faster and more energy efficient computers and servers. If this is achieved, I think virtual worlds could help prevent people from unecessary traveling and shopping/consumption in the real world that create much more carbon output than a virtual experience. It may not be real, but perhaps can provide the same fulfillment of boredom that people are seeking to fulfill when they shop or travel in the real world. The key I think is to create aesthetically pleasing virtual worlds with good graphics/lighting. Sansar looks pretty promising so far, but I think it still has some improvements to be made first.

 

It will never erase people choosing to shop in the real world for the experience of getting off their butts and going outdoors and interacting with people. Not to mention that attracting even a billion people might be very challenging for these worlds, nevermind close to half of the 7 billion people on earth.

Online shopping predates virtual worlds and has been doing terrific business for many years. Some of us just prefer brick and mortar shopping. The world may eventually shift those stores into the history books, but virtual worlds only need to play a part in that.

The biggest promise I saw for SL in 2006 and still think is there is not what it can replace, but what it can change about the real world. The micro economy, a vibrant community of millions working together, ect. Its too bad that the "tried and true" red tape, big brother, big money greed ways of the real world have crept their way into the grid in recent years.

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I can see where you're coming from.  In real life I'm really concerned with the garment industry for example.  I try to only buy second-hand, and mend my clothes, (with the exception of undergarments but I'll figure something out eventually.)  Textiles manufacturing is one of the heaviest polluting industries, and that's without even mentioning the human rights violations that are abundant in every stage of the manufacturing process.  Compared to virtual worlds like SL where the first demands that come to mind would be the resources and energy required to maintain the network, and the hardware production methods, (which are admittedly atrocious,) and materials sourcing, at both the industry and user levels, I see it as a relatively less damaging outlet for consumption.  It's tough to estimate these things though.

 

Sorry if that didn't make any sense.

TLDR:  I feel guilty buying clothes IRL but not ISL so maybe that's something.

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On 7/27/2019 at 3:39 PM, French Couturier said:

This is just a hypothetical question. Could virtual worlds play a role in the future to help prevent real world carbon output? Of course it would first be necessary to develop faster and more energy efficient computers and servers. If this is achieved, I think virtual worlds could help prevent people from unecessary traveling and shopping/consumption in the real world that create much more carbon output than a virtual experience. It may not be real, but perhaps can provide the same fulfillment of boredom that people are seeking to fulfill when they shop or travel in the real world. The key I think is to create aesthetically pleasing virtual worlds with good graphics/lighting. Sansar looks pretty promising so far, but I think it still has some improvements to be made first.

 

We need to ask dinosaurs how they fixed that pollution problem since they had 15 times more carbon in the atmosphere than we have right now... 

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By the time our technology is at such level that there is no distinction between virtual and real, I doubt we will still be poluting the world when traveling.

 

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On 8/4/2019 at 4:13 PM, JJack Montreal said:

We need to ask dinosaurs how they fixed that pollution problem since they had 15 times more carbon in the atmosphere than we have right now... 

They didn't fix it - they all DIED.

(Theresa Tennyson empties a fire extinguisher on JJack to control collateral damage.)

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This is going out on a limb. Maybe virtual worlds will have the effect that people feel less inclined to have real life relationships and are also less inclined to have children. I think that is the case in japan right now that people prefer to stay single and find their relief through other means. So less children would mean less people and less pressure on the environment. Just a theory.

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On July 29, 2019 at 12:50 AM, CoffeeDujour said:

 

As much as it seems like a good idea, there is one tiny fundamental problem.

People like to go places to do stuff.

Going places and doing stuff, even at great expense or personal risk, is half the fun anything has to offer.

A fake trip to the beach will never replace actually going, no matter how 'realistic' it may be. It could offer an indistinguishable experience and it would still be the lesser option because you would know

Some people can't, though. The size of that population is considerable. 

VR as THE future of everything is perhaps unrealistic, but as ONE future of everything is still very much the way many of us have to live and we protect it.  And the virtual beach is not necessarily lesser to us.  There are no needles to step on, nor jellyfish that sting!  The right sounds and graphics still soothe the soul for those of us whose soul can be so pleasantly soothed :)   

Still. I do wish VR would take the place of all that airtravel.  I do like the theory that technology could make people less impactful on the planet.  

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This question reminds me of an old film called Total Recall, in which virtual vacations replaced physical ones. Virtual travel had/has a lot of advantages, but it is a different experience. Until we live our entire lives virtually, like in another old film The Matrix, we will likely still enjoy travel with our entire body, not just our mind. The OP asked if virtual worlds could help reduce real world pollution though, not eliminate it, and the answer to that is yes.

Consider online education, which has been doing this for a decade or more. More recently, professors at University of Hawaii began teaching holographically to students in American Samoa, interacting in real time from thousands of km away.

The famous Louvre art museum in Paris conducts online tours, allowing people to explore the Mona Lisa and other works from anywhere in the world. And similarly, if you've ever looked at homes and apartments online rather than checking newspaper ads and visiting every one of them, you've saved a ton of fuel, time, expense, and pollution.

So French Couturier makes a good point: virtual worlds definitely reduce pollution. But there is no one answer to a problem as big as human waste. Instead, there are many solutions, and virtual worlds are just one.

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Life imitates Forum:  I saw an article the other day where a nature photographer made the suggestion that people should visit unspoiled areas via VR...because having too many people visit those areas spoils them.

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On 8/4/2019 at 10:13 PM, JJack Montreal said:

We need to ask dinosaurs how they fixed that pollution problem since they had 15 times more carbon in the atmosphere than we have right now... 

They had no pollution problem.

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I don't think virtual worlds can do much.

Virtual is not real. Just as TV does not satisfy the wish to travel, so would VR fail. Its just displayed pictures. I can't feel it. Same with shopping. What I buy for my avatar in SL does not replace my wants and needs in RL. My life is not within a computer. Actually, this would make a good setting for a scifi novel: In the far future, only the wealthy can afford "real life", everyone else is sooner or later forced to continue their existance in a virtual realm to save ressources for the upper class. All covered of course under a twisted understanding of morality and justification.

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You're ignoring the countless people for whom VR,  can never replace anything at all-of which there are far more than there aren't. An addition, absolutely, VR, AR, AI, etc.. are all wonderful additions to our existence -they really are and I am in no way knocking them, I wouldn't be alive today without some of them, neither would one of my children. None of them will ever replace anything-even for the people for whom the rl counterpart seems or even is, impossible. It's not a replacement, just a placeholder, at best(it very well may be the best some folks ever get, still doesn't make it a proper replacement). If anything the addition of such things has cost us even more in resources, and will continue to do so the more "we" demand it.  You can't reduce a carbon footprint by making a bigger one to create that which you're trying to use to reduce the overall carbon footprint (it's a bit nonsensical of a suggestion, really, but, I'm not trying to be overly judgmental, just the mental picture I have is hilarious to me right now). 

It's a nice idea sometimes in theory, but even the theory has practical issues. It's a nice pipe dream, though. 

A VR, AR, AI tree is not the same as a real one. Not being able to see, feel, hear,  the tiny buds of leaves just forming,  the leaves as they mature on a tree, the leaves as they're falling, dead and dying leaves under your feet as you crunch away...will always supersede the nice idea of a virtual tree. 

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"Could virtual worlds help reduce real world pollution?"


Only in the same way that digging would help you get out of a hole.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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As someone who's been many places and seen many things, there is nothing in SL that truly compares to the real deal.

You cannot simulate walking on the glass bridge at the Grand Canyon, watching the sun rise over the forests and fields around OKC, or chainsmoking due to the intense stressful feelings of driving through dense LA traffic on 12 miles of downhill in a vehicle large enough to take out a city bus.

Im looking at you, Hesperia on I-15, I hate you but love that the experience is so unique.

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On August 4, 2019 at 4:13 PM, JJack Montreal said:

We need to ask dinosaurs how they fixed that pollution problem since they had 15 times more carbon in the atmosphere than we have right now... 

They were adapted to those Carbon levels, then a bunch of the carbon got trapped in the ground, and life adapted to the new levels. Now we take the carbon out of the ground and put it back in the atmosphere, creating levels higher than life is currently adapted for, at a rate that life cannot adapt to keep up with.

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