The Uncanny Valley

The subject of Second Life keeps coming up lately, and every time it does I think back to LambdaMOO, where I spent way too much time in the mid 90s, building fantastic worlds and learning to program in what — as it turned out — would be the first of many object oriented languages.


To tell the truth, I never spent that much time on Lambda itself. Instead, I tended to set up MOOs on my own servers, sometimes with no access to anyone except myself, and … just make shit up. One of my favourite creations, which I never finished, alas, was the Rev. Charles Dodgson‘s Study. It was more or less an interactive version of The Annotated Alice
and I spent *weeks* on it.

Anyway, every time I think of Second Life, I find myself wondering whether I’d be drawn to create environments and objects in the same way. I work better with words than pictures, and I suspect that anything I created on SL would be uncanny at best.

But today, I think, I have figured out the solution. I know how to merge the two worlds into one.

>@dig Uncanny Valley
>@desc Uncanny Valley as You are standing in a wide valley. Streets criss-cross each other in all directions, and a profusion of buildings in a mind-numbing range of architectural styles cluster around you. When you look at them, your gaze seems to slide across their surface, as if the texture of the bricks and wood were somehow slick and insubstantial. People pass by, all well dressed and with unusually clear skin. A flock of flying penises — all identical, in a fetching shade of Barbie(tm) pink — flutter overhead.

There used to be MOO/IRC interfaces, where if you talked in a certain MOO room your discussion would filter through to an IRC channel elsewhere on the ‘Net. I’m pretty sure there were in-MOO objects that interacted with other external network protocols, too. Well, Second Life’s got a public API; what are we waiting for?