Reuters announces that marketing firm Clear Ink this Thursday will streaming live video of the opening of the 110th US Congress into a virtual version of the Capitol (teleport SLURL). This will be followed by an in-world discussion with Rep. George Miller of California, chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. The Capitol Hill sim officially opens to the public on Friday January 5 and will reportedly be used for “discussion meetings, and information exchange about the 110th Congress.”
I’m incredibly excited about this news, which could be a dramatic example of how virtual environments can be used to stimulate public discussion and debate about timely civil issues. OTOH, there are tremendous challenges to managing and moderating political debate given the deep divisions in the US and technical hurdles of the Second Life environment. My guess is that these will be highly scripted and controlled events given the very likely griefing attacks.