Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Second Life takes as much energy as your first life

Our obsession with entertainment and virtual reality while the world collapses around us reminds me of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.

Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, has calculated that maintaining a character (known as an avatar) in the Second Life virtual reality game, requires 1,752 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is almost as much used by the average Brazilian.

“It’s not an unreasonable comparison,” said Liam Newcombe, an expert on data centres at the British Computer Society. “It tells us how much energy westerners use on entertainment versus the energy poverty in some countries.”

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