Metaverse Republic designing judiciary for Second Life


Photo by ‘nailbender’

The rule of law is at the basis of human societies. What kind of rule, law, and society, is of course the important detail that defines the opportunities for a healthy, wealthy, and happy community which can express the full potential of its members. The new medium of those online worlds can become a platform, when their original creators have left openings for the participants to implement their own views, creativity, and objectives in its day-to-day life. This is the case with Second Life, and its residents have been quick recognizing how wide a range of social groups could be formed in it, from anarchies to dictatorships. There are some crude tools in the Second Life client, that enable a rough management of groups and private islands, banning for example griefers from an island, but these are no substitute for a nuanced, complete, and most importantly, enforceable legal system.

The Metaverse Republic initiative, itself formed by those involved with the Local Government Study Group, aims to form a judiciary and legal system for Second Life, based on English common law principles, and on the separation of powers. The Metaverse Replublic launched its website yesterday, and Antonio Bonanno, aka Mondrian Lykin has been interviewed in a podcast on Metaversed detailing the goals of the initiative.

As it has been commented by Riccardo , aka Bru Yang, at a previous meeting of LGSG on Vulcano in Second Life, and also by Folletto in a conversation we had recently, maybe we should aim for more than what appears here. Recreating online all the existing structures of the legal system of a the society in a physical world might make us blind to more degrees of freedom, to a parametric implementation that gives birth to a richer emergent structure potentially. For example: Tripartite powers? Who said so? Or: What about the rights of non-human autonomous agents?

These days I have less time to actively participate in the discussions that are shaping Metaverse Roadmap, even if I am keeping an eye on what is going on. I have spoken about politics in the online worlds in the past at Care-Craedo, and at Frontiers of Interaction, and will be doing so at SLconference 07 in Berlin.

My interest is in measuring the rate of efficiency in the workings of online worlds, and to observe as this rate hopefully increases as evolutionary means enable it to do so. Crossing a threshold of usefulness then lets us take what we build and apply it to the physical world. We sure need it…