Now the Swedes and Chinese are coming on with an alternate virtual universe called Entropia that promises to give Second Life a run for its Lindens.
My sister Anne sends me a story about a project to take avatars to a whole new level, endowing them not only with 3-D animation, but with intelligence, will and emotions. For the present, a real person at a computer guides an avatar in cyberspace. But it is possible to imagine avatars of the not so distant future that carry into virtual worlds a person's very soul. There he goes, into the vast universe of some future Entropia, a virtual Chet, who exists only as binary bits in cyberspace, but who bears the real Chet's lifetime of experiences, personality quirks, desires, loves and phobias. Once there, he will act on his own, without me dictating his action from my computer. And since he need not age or die, he will continue his virtual "second life" after I'm dead and gone. I doubt if he will find a one-mile path in cyberspace that is interesting enough to occupy him for eternity. But- what the heck- while I'm at it, I'll give him that head of curly black hair.”