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Synthetic worlds and the University: approaching the unknown

Tom Abeles (Editor of On the Horizon)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 6 February 2007




This is an introductory editorial for Volume 15 designed to challenge current thinking about the future in general and the future of post‐secondary education in particular, at a time when the world wide web is being populated by synthetic worlds.


Using the emerging area of synthetic worlds, the essay challenges the current thinking, not about the virtual space occupied by these worlds, but the very world of the university currently inhabited by both faculty and students.


Currently traditional institutions are changing because of the ubiquity of the internet. The creation of synthetic worlds in the world wide web represents a substantive change similar to the shift in society as the horseless carriage transformed into the automobile.


As the synthetic “worlds” transition, the borders between a country on earth and these virtual environments become similar to today's political boundaries. Yet the physics, biology and social environment can be radically different with, as yet, unknown consequences.



Abeles, T. (2007), "Synthetic worlds and the University: approaching the unknown", On the Horizon, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 3-6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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