I’ve hinted at this sort of thing in past posts, but thought I’d provide more this time; especially after seeing an online advertisement for this “griefing” tool.
This is an advertisement for a virtual weapon. It is designed to attack another person/avatar inside the Second Life virtual simulation. And it does this without – according to the creator – violating the Terms of Service by being… well… pretty creative. Read what it can do for yourself:
Simply rez one of these objects and set the target’s name using “/500 target name”. If that target comes into the same sim and with in 96m of the DBomber, the DBomber will send them over 15000 blue dialog boxes, along with 15000 notecards. It screws the client, and it doesnt stop when the avatar logs out, it will continue to pump notecards to their account even whilst logged out, if they come with in 96m of the DBomber, they WILL get 15000 notecards, and many Dialogs(the dialogs dont conintue after the avatar logs out, the notecards do though).
To provide some point of reference, this is equivalent to receiving 15000 spam emails and 15000 telemarketing phone calls all at the same time. Except the purpose isn’t to sell something, it’s to virtually assault someone – and this kind of assault often results in the target’s program (“client”) crashing. Additionally, as virtual worlds improve in sophistication, there’s no reason to believe computer worms and other malicious code won’t be included in the “sales package” of these kinds of virtual product. So there you have one ingredient of the virtual future. Hope you can handle the bitter stuff. Me? I’ve got this cool idea for a MIRVed virtual cruise missile with programmable payloads.
(edit: I’ve modified a comment to reflect a valid omission pointed out by someone commenting on this entry over on another blog. You can read more about my mistake, my correction, and the bigger point on which I’m hoping more people focus their attention here; or just read my comment copied below)
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My comment on “The Importance of…”:
My mistake. That should have been:
“And it does this without – according to the creator – violating the Terms of Service by being . . . well . . . pretty creative.”
As soon as my site’s back online, I’ll edit it appropriately. However, the bigger issue and the real point of the entry is that as this kind of interface develops there will likely be new forms of irritants developing with it. I suspect there will be an entirely new kind of thrill motivating the people who would write these kinds of applications. in some ways we may see a kind of mash-up: the browser meets the first-person shooter. I’ve no doubt that there are capable coders who’ve not bothered to write a trojan (for whatever reason), who would be gleeful at an opportunity to create virtual entities that do nothing more than harass, insult, degrade, verbally abuse, flash their virtual privates, aso. Personally I’d be irritated by a virtual paparazzi that did nothing more than follow me – a 3D representation of spyware.
Going from lines of code to 3D visuals will, I believe, have a profound effect on cyberspace not just because of the technology but because of how we react to that technology.