Re: Beyond The Beyond

Max More (
Sun, 8 Dec 1996 16:36:00 -0700 (MST)

At 10:20 PM 12/7/96 -0800, Wade wrote:
>Beyond The Beyond...
> This is the deal. I've recently been getting into three-dimensional,
>interactive virtual world building, and am currently teaching myself how to
>combine VRML 2.0 and Java to that end. I was wondering if their are any
>transhumanist/extropian thinkers/visionaries/artists out their who would
>like to help design a transhumanist virtual space, similar to the BeyondMOO
>at but in interactive, textured 3D (using VRML 2.0 with
>behaviours, Java scripting,etc).

> [snip] And one of the first of these cyber-worlds to make it on I want to
>make sure is a transhumanist one - vast, expansive, diverse, and growing (in
>other words, extropic).

Wade, this sounds exciting! Once the project gets started, perhaps Extropy
Institute can help by prominently linking to it from ExI's web site, and by
connecting you with people who could help.

>Yes, I realize a lot of this sounds ambitious, but basically the only areas
>that are holding us back are faster physical connections to Internet,
>fleshing out multi-user VRML, and development of autonomous agents. But with
>the rapid rate of development (Moore's Law), I expect to see 3D worlds
>become "cool places to be" as early as a year or two from now.

That's not the only thing holding things back, and this matter is a major
reason for this post: I've seen quite a few projects talked about, and some
of them even started, but very few get very far. Your project sounds highly
ambitious. It will need large amounts of work from a number of people. My
experience is that volunteer labor, with no financial incentive, tends to be
unreliable and sporadic.

Have you given thought to making money from this operation, and to paying
the people who work on it? If there is no start up funding, the best model
may be an exaggeration of the Microsoft one. Microsoft actually pays below
market salaries, but get the smartest programmers by giving generous stock
options (which have produced many many millionaires on the Microsoft
campus). For your project, you may be able to offer *no* pay yet still have
strong incentives if there are stock options or similar, and if you have a
plausible business plan.

This may all sound like a damper. Many of us like to just get on with
exploring our ideas without worrying about money matters. However, I
strongly believe that financing deserves just as much attention as the ideas
for building this virtual world. Otherwise, after an exciting beginning,
it's liable to founder. If you organize a team to work on this, I urge you
to include people with business skills.

That said, I love the idea, and hope it can be organized so as to move ahead
and keep moving.



Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute, Editor, Extropy,
(310) 398-0375