11 March 2010

The Virtual Revolution

There's was a great 4-part BBC series on TV and web recently presented by Aleks Krotoski (avatar: Mynci Gorky in Second Life) . 'The Virtual Revolution' investigates the how the past 20 years of the web has reshaped our lives.

About the programme: 20 years on from the invention of the World Wide Web Dr Aleks Krotoski explores how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by some of the web's biggest names including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft and the web's inventor - she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise. The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many. Now, in a provocative, strongly authored argument, presenter Aleks Krotoski will re-assess utopian claims like these, made over many years by the digital revolution's key innovators - and test them against the hard realities of the emerging Web today, exploring how the possibilities of the pure technology have been constrained, even distorted by the limitations of human nature.

'The Virtual Revolution' was previously known as Digital Revolution (working title). It was also a radical change for BBC documentary making - an open and collaborative production, which asked the web audience to debate programme themes, suggest and send questions for interviewees, watch and comment on interview and graphics clips, and download clips for personal use and re-editing, all months before broadcast. Last but not least, the name of the series itself was up for debate. Stephen Fry helped to launch our Twitter namestorm, and after hundreds of suggestions, the final name was a mashup "between us and you" – a fitting way to round off the experiment.

The BBC have also provided a great way to navigate the content from the series with their 3D explorer. This allows you to take a 3D tour of the videos and interviews from the series and associated web sites at your own pace: http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualrevolution/3dexplorer_start.shtml

There's also a fantastic web site for the series here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/virtualrevolution/ There's also a review over at Virtual Worlds Research blog http://worlds.ruc.dk/archives/2209

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