I am with A360 on the current child safety debacle, and it raises a conversation that needs to be had (and re-had) before we get a whole lot further. In 1998's My Tiny Life (free pdf) , Julian Dibell chronicles, among other things, the experiences of a virtual rape victim and (her) MOO community. Seminal on multiple levels, the work explores many aspects of identity, ethics and permission in a post-modern, techno-centric age.
So here's the question. In an exodus recession, were do we draw the lines with economies made up of adult, child, and child-like beings in virtual worlds? With their child-like or grown-up avatars? With AI(s), inhabited or not? What's appropriate, what's not? What's criminal, what's not? What is slavery? Labor? How do we simultaneously allow freedom(s) and conversations and experiments and deviations and enterprise, and protect from harm? Does hacking or enslaving one's or another(s) virtual being(s) to elicit behavior other than intended by the owner consitute criminal activity? At what point(s) are we complicit? Which pathways of influence do we fear? Applaud? What precedents exist? What forms can teaching a lesson take? Is it/can it be therapy? Is it 'promoting hatred'to discuss such things openly, or is opening the can of worms a good thing overall? Let's summarize and rule.