Speaking of a "multi-user persistent environment," like Lucasfilm's Habitat that we've been reading about, what do you all think about the US military building a second Earth? At first I thought this was completely creepy (I had visions of the military making huge decisions based on an inadequate simulation of "real world physics" and human interactions), but now I wonder why I was surprised and appalled (because I realized that they probably do this all the time).
I guess a major difference between this simulated world and the Habitat is that the latter didn't attempt to predict human interactions, but instead allowed those interactions. This new project to simulate the world seems to go against the lesson that Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer noted in their paper about Habitat:
The essential lesson that we have abstracted from our experiences with Habitat is that a cyberspace is defined more by the interactions among the actors within it than by the technology with which it is implemented.
The military's simulated world seems to be relying on the technology, particularly because they intend to "model real world physics" to create simulations, instead of focusing on facilitating real human interactions.