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Daily Archive for Thursday, December 14th, 2006

zittrain & zuckerman

zittrain spoke directly to me this morning. i have my problem with authority. i am prone to see the reflection of what i want to see in the bubble that surrounds me; z shows me the understory; a room full of people who have berkman reasons for being there, whose issues are not necessarily mine. can i engage each one and make it all go somewhere; i cannot expect anyone to pick up the ball and do it for me; nothing will happen by magic.

i pray to the divinity in the net: help me solve my problem. the issues i espouse are fine but my manner at times conveys an attitude which few want for long to share. i’ve had this problem for a long time. it’s what beats me every time i’m beat. kevin now sees the mistake we have been making in jamaica. can he teach me. can i learn from you.

zuckerman leads me to clay shirkey who neatly describes the experience of the look one time virus. i can see i am subject to that. my first visit to second life would have been one time, if that, without my daughter to lead me and hold me in. whenever i’ve left berkman island to go forth and look around i’ve found the environment elaborately constructed but humanly forbidding. yet i am excited at the prospect of holding court in this virtual immersive domain. second life is a crappy way to do some things, maybe a fine way to do others.

my sense is that second life is an ideal environment for mock trials. compared to live mock trials which tend to be a rush of words in which evidentiary objections are difficult to focus, the pace of exchange in the text environment of second life is slower and more deliberate; a record is naturally generated; evidentiary objects are easily represented.

we’ve built a courtroom on berkman island that gives an immersive sense of a legal dispute-resolving environment. we will select a jury from those in second life who would like to participate as citizens of the space in which they live. we will have witnesses and student-lawyers speak in text under disciplines of civility and rules of evidence, subject to objection by opponents and ruling by the judge, who will be me.

i’m thinking we should try a hypothetical version of the case of the man who got his property taken for hacking the second life code. i could ask my students to frame a cause of action at common law as if no user agreement with linden labs had ever been signed, for trial before a common law jury.

i expect the experience of the mock trial in second life to be better in many ways than cognate live face-to-face events. i am going to see, and to see if the experience can scale. i’m looking forward to teaching students who are able to gather and practice in a virtual environment which immerses them in the reality of the questions of liberty, identity and governance presented by our investment of energy and assets in a virtual world owned by a for-profit corporation.