"I believe that a village in Africa with a couple of computers powerful enough to connect to a virtual world could be the shared resources that people could use to communicate, work, learn." That’s the vision of Linden Lab‘s founder and former CEO Philip Rosedale as expressed in an interview with Draxtor Despres on the machinima Obama in Ghana…and the Metaverse was watching!.
Rikomatic‘s machinima of the event discussed here yesterday and Draxtor Despres’ machinima show two very different but equally valid approaches to covering President Obama’s speech in Ghana. Rikomatic choose to use the format to convey the speech itself, while Draxtor Despres chose to use the speech as a context in which to interview five people: U.S. State Department Director of Innovative Engagement William Mays, Ghanian-born Julius Sowu, Linden Lab’s Philip Rosedale, Internews‘ Vice-President for Africa, Health, and Humanitarian Media Mark Frohardt, and former ambassador to Qatar Kenton Keith.
Julius in Second Life
Julius Sowu, who emigrated to the U.K from Ghana in 1981, spoke of how social media are making it harder for politicians to spin events like this, and said "The shining outcome will come when more of us can sit down at the same table, virtual and real, and truth comes through. Virtual worlds are here to stay." Counter viewpoints were expressed by Mark Frohardt and Kenton Keith. Frohardt felt that the low penetration of broadband and computers in Africa combined with the explosive growth of cell phones made the latter a more effect means of communication there. Keith was concerned about the"miniscule amount of Americans who work or study abroad" and feared that "Americans will use [virtual worlds] instead of the other kinds of exchanges that are absolutely essential."
Second Life avatars watching President Obama
Draxtor Despres ended the machinima by saying, "I trust that young people know how to utilize virtual worlds to get acquainted with other cultures which they can then explore in the physical world."
You can watch the interviews on YouTube here: