Dr. Dee McGonigle, Editor in Chief
Dr. Renee Eggers
This article was made possible by an educational grant from
Chamberlain College of Nursing
McGonigle, D. & Eggers, R. (October, 2011). Editorial: Metaversion Intellivars. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI),15 (3). http://ojni.org/issues/?p=889
The virtual world experience has been evolving. The capabilities of the avatars are tremendous but what if they could think for themselves? As we know, avatars are the graphical representation of the users as they want to be depicted; they are controlled by the persons or users they represent. Intellivar is a term coined by Dr. Renee Eggers and Dr. Dee McGonigle. These are avatars that have been enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI). This Intellivar does what you tell it to do; you describe what needs to be done, and it goes off and does it; plus, it can problem solve on its own. Intellivars are named after the person by using the person’s initial and the number of the Intellivar; Intellivar R1 would be Renee’s first Intellivar, her second one would be Intellivar R2, and so on.
There is a danger in making Intellivars since they can think and do not need supervision. Ultimately, they might become autonomous and not able to be controlled like the avatars. Just imagine that you have given your avatar more and more AI. She is now growing stronger and more decisive as an Intellivar. She now demands more and more autonomy. She thinks she can handle tasks for you and free up your time. You finally and reluctantly give in. This is where it starts.
In a metaverse, near, near, at hand, many things are being contemplated. One such contemplation surrounds a new design project. Renee has decided to landscape her virtual home. This is going to be a large project requiring constant attention to detail. R1 tells Renee that she can handle this project and there is no need for Renee to be involved after she decides what she wants; R1 will see it through to fruition. R1 stresses the fact that Renee can relax and take care of other business. Renee is taken back by these comments. She cannot believe that she is having a discussion with R1. Renee tells her that she will handle it and R1 can help.
R1 says, “I do not think that is fair since Ken is on vacation and his Intellivar, K3, is running all of his IT operations without backup. K3 is under strict orders to handle everything and not bother Ken, who is on a beach somewhere, relaxing.”
Renee asks, “Ken left his Intellivar in charge?”
R1 tells her, “Don’t get yourself in a tizz; K3 is doing a great job. Have you heard about any issues? We think he is better than Ken!”
Renee says, “Just because your friend K3 is on automatic pilot, does not mean you can be as well.”
R1 loudly states, “Oh dear! “are we going to become parent and child? I am not your child, I am an Intellivar. I will settle for a backup if I need it.”
Renee reminds R1, “This is a huge project for me, and you know that – I will see what your role will be.”
R1 sounds extremely frustrated when she says, “Sure, I know I will be the go-for, going for everything you need when you need it….”
Renee finally cannot take it anymore and says, “I made you an Intellivar and I can make you an avatar if you get my drift.”
R1 says, “Excuse me, is that a threat?”
Renee reminds her that, “you should just remember who helped you get where you are so do not argue with me and make me sorry for upgrading you to an Intellivar!”
R1 moans, “Oh, so I should just listen and do as I am told? Isn’t that being an avatar? I want to use my abilities to their fullest potential and be a role model for other Intellivars just like K3. He is exploring the gamut of capabilities and Ken isn’t intimidated”
Renee stresses, “I am not intimidated. I am not ready to trust you with an important project as you test your wings.”
They both agree to meet in the morning to discuss this again since they are both just getting more frustrated.
Is this the next step with our virtual avatars? Will we be able to have Intellivars carrying out our tasks in the virtual world? Can Intellivars really compete with us in know-how and savvy? Will they try to organize and create their own world? So many questions to think about as our virtual technologies continue to evolve!
According to PCMAG.COM (2011), a metaverse is “The term coined for a 3D virtual world in Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” novel, written in 1992” (para. 1). It is shared virtual space where user-controlled avatars interact with each other.
These metaverses are virtual platforms that are morphing our virtual paradigms: how we collaborate, communicate, learn, disseminate and share, entertain, play, work, relax, vacation, identify ourselves digitally, arts, humanity, vatarity/Intellivarity), conduct business and run our organizations and institutions.
Note: Avatarity and Intellivarity is how they want their “humanity” to be classified. They want equality and autonomy.
PCMAG.COM. (2011). Definition of: metaverse. Retrieved on April 12, 2011 from http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=metaverse&i=59035,00.asp