Analyzing the Ethical Pitfalls of All-Virtual Workplaces

Digital workplaces bring with them the promise of an ever-expanding pool of potentially employable workers. An employee free to move about the country and maximize their purchasing power thanks to an entirely-virtual workplace need not fear expensive metropolitan areas or the crime, crowding and chaos big cities often develop.

I am an advocate of telecommuting and virtual workplaces, not only because many of the positions I've held in the past have been made available exclusively through telecommuting. The benefits of virtual workplaces over brick-and-mortar establishments seem clear enough upon even cursory inspection: Employers can pull from a much larger pool of potential workers, virtual workplaces create a natural need for collaboration and communication between levels of a company, reductions in commuting time lead not only to fewer traffic jam-related headaches, but also to an overall greener workplace.

Be that as it may, there are also major ethical dilemmas unique to virtual workplaces. The division of employee and employer creates major questions related to true productivity, employee honesty, and the proper division of labor among members of a virtual group. The technological boundaries to virtual work are by and large behind us, and even boutique companies can make use of free-to-use virtual worlds like OpenSim and Second Life for meeting purposes. But the ethical questions remain.


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The U.S. Government is More Wired than Ever. But Is It Secure?

PH2008121903097 Over the past few years, the U.S. government has led the way in integrating virtual world technology in to the physical workspace.

From the Department of Energy to the Marines, government is a major consumer of cutting-edge virtual world and simulation technology. But is Uncle Sam getting too dependent on virtual platforms?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at our government's avatar addiction, and the potential downsides of the habit.


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Turning Words into Pictures: A Pixels and Policy Proposal

Virtual communication allows for all sorts of fun and interesting innovations on the traditional written word. Here's one of my favorites. This is a word cloud that contains the most-used words in Pixels and Policy's recent article, "A Commentary on the Ethical Dilemmas of All-Virtual Workplaces."

Wordle: Virtual Work

Click the thumbnail for a full-sized image.

Not surprisingly, virtual was the most-used word, but honesty and communication also pop up frequently. I'm considering including these word clouds at the top of every article to give readers in a hurry the quick gist of a piece. 

Data and content visualization is an emerging hobby of mine, and I think it makes for a much more interesting reading experience – in addition to providing something that both looks good and offers a bit of content consolidation.

What do you think?

Ariella Furman on Machinima as a New Business Language

Today we have a guest post from Second Life resident and machinima evangelist Ariella Furman. Ariella, the CEO of ALM Productions, lays out the argument for integrating high-quality machinima into the everyday business practices of companies large and small. Furman's eye for the branding power of machinima may be ahead of its time, but businesses are quickly catching on.

The world of business embodies many different languages. The world of
the image is just one of those languages, that when combined with a
brand, can produce limitless possibilities.

I always saw business as an
almost fake, overproduced foreign language. When I was getting my
degree, everyone told me to minor in business. I dropped out of the
very first pre-requisite I had to take; it just wasn't my thing. I was
a pure film school geek! Then I discovered machinima.

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