[MUD-Dev] First use of "avatar"?

Koster Koster
Wed Dec 12 15:18:58 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Travis Casey
> Tuesday, December 11, 2001, 11:34:40 AM, Koster, Raph wrote:
 
>> The OED is doing a pilot project to incorporate a large number of
>> words derived from SF. You can read about it here:
 
>>   http://66.108.177.107/SF/sf_citations.shtml
 
>> One in particular that caught my eye was this entry:
 
>>   avatar (n.) antedating 1992 (in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash)
>>   sense is a VR representation of a person
 
>> I want to say that avatar was used before Snow Crash. Am I wrong?
 
> Well, it was used by the Hindus, wasn't it?  I'd even say that it
> was used by them to mean a VR representation of a person -- that
> "person" is a god, and the VR they're creating an extension into
> is Maya, the world illusion.  It's not a *computer-generated* VR,
> but it's also not considered to be "real" reality.

Well, that's almost certainly how we got to the VR use of it. But I
think the OED wants the first use of it in the VR sense
specifically.

> "avatar" is also the name of the "root" account on some Unix
> systems.  I don't know how far back that practice goes.

I had forgotten about that...

-Raph
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