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A Brief History of the Groundbreaking 20-Year Project ‘Virtual Harlem’

For almost twenty years, Professor Bryan Carter has been developing Virtual Harlem–a virtual version of Renaissance-era Harlem that he has continued to develop for ever-changing technologies, including Second Life and, now, a 3D web browser.

Writes The Atlantic of the latest iteration, “Carter envisions a vibrant virtual world populated with the avatars of real people—some his students, some just visiting Virtual Harlem—interacting with each other, as well as with artificially intelligent non-player characters that can be programmed to relate historically significant information, represent historic figures, or even act as virtual tour guides to the area. Imagine running into an AI version of Louis Armstrong and being able to ask him what was happening at the Apollo Theater that night. Once the virtual world is fully debugged and running, Carter intends to continue enhancing the environment—adding further details, coding more interiors for the buildings already in place, filling the library with interactive books, etc.—with the help of students and educators around the world, effectively turning Virtual Harlem into a kind of digital learning lab.”

Read the full story here.