Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Avatars and Authenticity

The article brings up an excellent point that until reading it, had not crossed my mind. If a deceased person has an avatar made for them or a character made for them in a virtual world, whose responsibility is it to preserve the image and respect for that character? The Kurt Cobain issue is very legit, because as the inventor (debatable) of grunge music in the early 90s, his die-hard fans and relatives would not want to see him playing Bon Jovi. As a Beatles fan, I could not imagine someone using their avatars to create porn or drug videos.

The article asks a very important question: Who will speak for the deceased people once they become avatars? We already have legal documents stating who can make life/death decisions for a person when they are in vegetative state. Should we tack onto that legal document the previous question of who speaks for you once death occurs?

This is one of the reasons why I do not approve of avatars being created for others. Creating an avatar for yourself is fine and can be fun. However, once you begin creating one for others, many questions become raised. Taking it even a step further, who takes over the Kurt Cobain avatar after its original creator dies? Will there be a contract created that lays out how specific avatars should speak, behave, and act? What will be the punishment for breaking these types of laws/rules? Technology is great, but often the technology is years ahead of the laws of the land.

1 comment:

  1. It's a good point you make that technology is ahead of the law. It was that way with movie and video downloads and it's that way with avatars and profiles... which is one of the reasons I'm really serious about teachers -- who are public figures -- doing their best to take control of their own online identity through many of the means we've discussed in class.