Clifford Stoll is an Astronomer and award winning author of such
books as "Cuckoo's Egg" and "Silicon Snake Oil".
Clifford questions all of us as to why we forsake our real, vital
communities of place for an escape into the virtual. In an interview
for the book on August 13, 1996, Clifford paints a picture we
should all consider before stepping into digital space:
Avataring in a virtual world is a wonderfully addictive drug.
I logged in for an hour once a few months ago and it was fun.
But ask yourself, is it a substitute for a real community? Many
people say it augments reality. I feel that for the people who
invest so many hours online building avatars it becomes their
reality. You only have a finite number of hours in a day, you
can spend them watching TV for four hours, doing email or avataring
or you could spend them with friends. There is an opportunity
cost to everything you do and the net has a very high opportunity
cost. Perhaps the net can convince you that you are doing something
when you are not. Will we all be wandering around our communities
with big, glassy eyes, not meeting each other?