AAAS Conference

Greetings from St. Louis, where I had the opportunity yesterday to give a presentation about virtual worlds with fellow Terra Novans Cory Ondrejka, Josh Fairfield and Mike Sellers, at the annual conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Unfortunately I missed Cory’s presentation, which was moved to the morning session. Josh, Mike and I covered the afternoon session and it was quite a range of topics.

Josh spoke about legal and property issues (with great flair I might add) and included the obligatory WoW demo, which turned out to be an excellent tool for luring unsuspecting scientists into the room.  Actually, several attendees were already familiar with WoW and much pre-session WoW chat ensued.   

Mike switched gears to discuss emotions and AI, which not surprisingly seemed to resonate most strongly with a roomful of scientists.  He covered everything from historical and current theories in the field to ethical issues of AI and even threw in a visual demo of reputation systems and a disturbingly funny story about an agent named Stan who turned into bot-food for two other hungry agents.

My presentation was about advertising and branding in social virtual worlds. It wasn’t remotely scientific in any way, shape or form, but included an overview of ways in which social worlds are being used by corporate advertisers for ad campaigns along with an introduction to the new trend of member generated brands.  I’ve posted the presentation here for anyone interested. (Go to View --> Notes in the powerpoint to view the presentation notes).  Fair warning: the file is 8 MB.

My only regret was that I couldn’t attend the concurrent session on kids’ and teens’ uses of the internet by Henry Jenkins, danah boyd, Justine Cassell, Amanda Lenhart, and Dave Huffaker.  Happily, danah has blogged it and posted her presentation notes.       

Comments on AAAS Conference:

Mike Sellers says:

I just wanted to echo how great it was being there with Betsy and Josh, talking to not quite my normal crowd. There was a solid amount of interest in the audience as evidenced by the questions we all three took, but I have a feeling that a lot of the people there weren't entirely prepared for how far VWs have come and some of the issues we're facing in them. We covered a lot of ground and I at least learned some interesting things about RMT, gold farmers, and brand-farming (not at all the same thing!) in these worlds.

FWIW I still disagree with Josh about the nature of ownership of virtual assets, but have learned that he's an engaging speaker and incisive thinker. Even if he can't handle romantic comedies (see, these are the sorts of things you learn after the talks are over).

And I won't even talk about the Madagscar hissing cockroaches... (sorry, Betsy!)

Posted Feb 21, 2006 12:14:37 AM | link

Mike says:

What stands out to me is the emphasis on immersion and P2P models. I don't see that from Philippine game publishers, most of whom are still trapped by Industrial Age top-down marketing ideas.

Posted Feb 21, 2006 12:28:38 AM | link

Edward Castronova says:

Thanks to all who participated. I wish I could have gone. Instead I stayed at home and did some incredibly stupid things. :(

Posted Feb 21, 2006 1:51:19 AM | link

zephoria says:

OMG - i had no idea you were there!! Damn, damn, damn.

Posted Feb 21, 2006 11:01:10 AM | link