Virtrual worlds responses:

Virtual worlds introduce a complex new aspect to society.  In allowing for the creation of an avatar, virtual worlds create an alternate identity for an individual.  It is important not write off virtual worlds and those people that choose to participate in them because the line between virtual reality and true reality is not clear cut.
Many virtual worlds incorporate a system in which virtual world money can be exchanged at a certain rate for real-world money.  The exchange rate in virtual worlds gives ethics violations more weight. The fact that people in Second Life can be making millions of dollars a year calls for some sort of regulation.  The current model of regulation is more similar to an oligarchy than anything else.  Virtual worlds are run by corporations and the corporations have the power to do whatever they want to their world at whatever time they want.  A game that can allow users to earn substantial amounts of money calls for government regulations.  This is particularly important when it comes to enforcing rules and laws within the world related to ethics.
A second major issues is that people are developing virtual identities in addition to their real identity.   The two identities are not at all separate from one another.  The link between the two has relevance to many different aspects of society.  The article on retail discusses how using a person’s virtual identity can be beneficial to marketers.  Virtual identities and virtual interactions can allows companies to gain insight into the consumer in new ways.  Virtual identities could also provide  an opportunity for scholars to learn more about human psychology and interaction.

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