By Gitte Larsen
When the world began. Many say the world began when God created it. Others will say the world is about five billion years old, and that it began long before Adam and Eve set foot on it.
As far as I know, the virtual world has nothing to do with God. Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and was behind the first browser in 1990. Most of us can easily remember the pre-Internet world, because most of us first went online not more than 12-13 years ago. It is almost impossible to imagine the space - first the World Wide Web, and now Web 2.0, and later Web 3.0 - no longer being there.. My imagination doesn't reach that far, anyway. But neither did it reach when I started university and tapped out papers on my electronic typewriter.
It is much easier to imagine the day will come when you can no longer live without also living virtually - and that applies to all, including the elderly and the poor. We will no longer distinguish between the virtual life and the one we inhabit on solid ground, because no one will give it a thought. No longer will we talk of parallel universes, as we do today, when the virtual world still needs to be turned on, usually in the form of our Mac or PC. In fact, today it is still possible to live a completely fine, normal and informed life without a virtual life.
But there is still something virginal about the virtual world. It is almost like a newborn child. In that way, we can compare the birth of the virtual world with the birth of the real world. We were hunters and Vikings for several thousand years, before agriculture, industry, the knowledge society and other societies developed. Maybe we can say the virtual world is a collective child that first now can seriously start to develop its own identity and direction for the future.
How this new world begins is surely an individual question, like so much else. In 2005, Tim Berners-Lee began to blog, and only then was his vision for the Net made reality. In his first blog post, he wrote, "Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space.
The most fantastically fascinating is that the new virtual world give us so many new possibilities. Including possibilities none of us recognizes today. It is unexplored territory that awaits us. We can again be discoverers, exploring and developing ourselves. Because we have the possibility, we must both use and exploit it. There are more and more companies who either need to or will need to be able to use and exploit it, which you can read much more about in this issue.
Virtual Living is many things. There is room for information and knowledge exchange. There is room for communication, creativity and development. There is room for ideas, fiction and experiences. There is room for experiments and senses. There is room for personal development and time-wasting. There is room for marketing of products and companies. And behind all this, Virtual Living is also an expression of our increasingly digitalized daily life. The amount of data can, with time, be reduced almost indefinitely. We will have greater and greater bandwidth. More and more things and tasks can be automated. Who knows where this world will end? One idea: it could end as it began, and that is completely different for you and me.
Until we meet again, enjoy your summer and holidays with those you care about, in the world you prefer. FO/futureorientation is back in September with an issue about management trends.