The Playful World by Mark Pesce

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Playful World was written by Mark Pesce. Pesce was an early pioneer of the web. He was instrumental in bringing a 3d interface to the web through a standard called VRML. This was an early attempt to provide the kind of immersive ‘matrix’ experience envisaged by the likes of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson in cyberpunk literature. Were a digital double of the real world (or more likely a more attenuated digital version) provides for interactions in the virtual realm.

Since then he has been applying his ingenuity and enterprise to academia  and futurism for the past decade and a half.

The Playful World was written about a decade ago, yet was very prescient of today’s cutting-edge web and related technology trends:

  • Augmented web – the web provided a data overlay of the real world with applications like locative digital art and turn by turn directions for navigation. Putting this inside glasses rather than on a screen would mirror some of the human computer interaction work done since the 1960s for fighter pilots.
  • The web of things – items become intrinsically linked to the web with all the security risks that entails as well.
  • Custom manufacturing – smaller production runs, intellectual property becomes more important than manufacturing scale. Globalisation gets transformed. Waste could be reduced, though that would be affected by the kind of prototyping one goes through printing items in 3D printing from an existing file.
  • Gaming – lean forward entertainment becomes more immersive, though a lot of the growth in gaming has already happened

Pesce knits his experiences together into an engaging narrative that would brings all of it together for the reader. If you want to get where things are going I recommend you have a read of Pesce’s book. You can find more book reviews here. More related content here.