a resource for businesses, organizations and educators for creating a successful virtual presence on the Second Life Grid platform
Linden Lab also says
the Second Life Grid will enable these organizations to understand and create meaningful 3D immersive experiences ... The platform, tools and programs available on SecondLifeGrid.net will provide the foundation needed to create a successful virtual world experience.
From the users' point of view the Second Life Grid offers all the advantages of virtual worlds in general, with none of the disadvantages of the somewhat anarchistic ongoings in Second Life itself. This is a very exciting development because finally we have the promise of a programmable computing environment which we actually inhabit, rather than being limited to using software that we interact with whilst remaining firmly outside of it (as it were).
Ultimately, environments such as this will be so realistic that it will be easy to forget where the real you is, and then the meaning of "real you" becomes rather ambiguous. Have a look at Counterfeit World (a.k.a. Simulacron-3) which is a book-length essay on this problem; I read this when I was a teenager and I was hooked from that point onwards.
One of my interests in programmable virtual worlds such as this is that I can use them to create simulations that mimic what goes on inside my head. I am a highly visual thinker so I understand a concept by expressing it visually as a 3-dimensional simulation in my mind's eye. If I can formulate a concept visually then I can make fluid use of it (think "bird's eye view"), and if I can't then I have to use it in a plodding one-step-at-a-time sort of way (think "worm's eye view").
Prior to the advent of virtual world technology my visualisations have spilt over into the real world in the form of diagrams that I draw to illustrate selected freeze frames of the visualisation, but to other people these diagrams can appear out of context so their full meaning is elusive. However, the promise of virtual world technology is that I can now recreate a more faithful representation of what goes on inside my head when I am visualising.
It is hard work to create a rich virtual world using the current primitive programming tools in Second Life, i.e. the Second Life scripting language. I find that currently the best approach is to do as much as possible of the programming work outside Second Life (using Mathematica, in my case), and to then upload the results to Second Life. Even when I use the best programming tools that are available to me, the overall process of generating virtual world simulations is hard work, but at least it is now feasible whereas before the existence of Second Life it was impossible.
It will be interesting to see how virtual world programming tools develop over the next few years. In the meantime, to be as productive as possible using virtual world technology, it is best to tailor your ambitions to the sorts of things that are relatively easy to do using current programming tools, which means that you have to experiment continuously with the tools to see what they can do for you. For me that means building up my "flying time" in Second Life, and concentrating on doing work there rather than mucking about ... yes, there are distractions!