Austin Tate, his avatar Ai Austin and his PSA (Personal Satellite Avatar) at the
MSc in e-Learning graduation ceremony, University of Edinburgh, 29th November 2012, 11am.

Presence in the MSc Graduation

Austin's Eye Ai's Eye for
    Austin PSA's
    Eye for Ai

Austin graduated in person in the McEwan Hall. Ai Austin the avatar was in the audience in the virtual graduation on the Virtual University of Edinburgh (Venue @ Vue) facility in Second Life, and Austin was remotely present and represented via the Be Austin avatar — a Machine Intelligence ("Mi")** and chatbot equipped "Personal Satellite Avatar (PSA)". Austin used an iPod with the Pocket Metaverse Viewer and made use of a Twitter feed on #edslgrad (see column to the right). The usual Eduroam wifi connection was not available, but wifi links were kindly provided by Nicola Osborne, a fellow graduand on the day, via her iPhone wifi hotspot. Other colleagues and friends with their avatars recorded the event in-world using movies and still shots.

Contributing Elements from MSc Studies

Austin's explorations during the MSc in e-Learning relevant to this digital artifact include:

Personal Avatar Assistant

Extract from MSc Digital Artifact "Ai, Pi, ... Eye"...

A particular reflection on the nature of my bond with an avatar and whether I am "with" or "behind" the avatar is related in my experience in designing and using the "Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA)" — now renamed "Personal Satellite Avatar (PSA)" — which I use when my attention is away from a particular focus in a meeting space, or when I am on-line through an interface which does not permit me a 3D viewpoint of how my avatar will appear to others. See Austin, Ai and the Personal Satellite Asssistant. I see this as "Ai" looking through the "PSA" robot floating in the meeting space... "I" am behind "Ai" but its "Ai" that is disconnected from the meeting space.

I do not like to leave my avatar in a virtual world when I am "AFK" or marked as "Busy" when I am not paying attention to those around me. But, I see the PSA avatar as an entity that I could leave in a community or social context to be autonomous.. with interaction for other users only via IM/Text chat through the indication on its "screen" showing my avatar on it when I am accessible in world with me interacting through my "Ai" avatar. I even have thought it would be okay with me to leave several such PSAs in rooms I need to monitor but where I have to be elsewhere and am multi-tasking.

The PSA probably represents the most abstract but also thought through and designed aspect of my use of identity, projective identity and community identity. It can be viewed in posthumanist terms as a far removed entity from myself.



** Mi = Austin obtained his PhD in "Machine Intelligence" at the University of Edinburgh in 1975.


Virtual Graduation Space

Second Life - Venue @ Vue - SLurl

Twitter #edslgrad