Ready player cat: Internet regulation in the OASIS
2. H E R E B E S P O I L E R S
A N D A P O L O G I E S
3. T H E S T O RY
• James “Anorak” Halliday, head of Greagarious
Simulation Systems (GSS), creates the OASIS,
a massive VR environment (more on that later).
• Upon his death in 2040, Halliday announces a
big egg hunt. Whoever finds three Easter Eggs
hidden inside the game will win control of the
• The story follows Parzival, Art3mis, Aech and
other Gunters in their search for the final key,
competing against the evil 101 Corp.
• “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The
4. I T ’ S T H E 8 0 S B A B Y !
• The Police, Ultraman, Spaidaman,
MegaGodzilla, Zork, WarGames,
Monty Python and the Holy Grail,
Ladyhawke, Krull, Blade Runner,
Journey, Back to the Future, Def
• Halliday was a teenager in the 80s,
his tastes become cannon as a
generation grows up studying his
6. T H E O A S I S
• The OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric
Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a massive
single-instance virtual reality interface, an
“open source reality”. It’s also free.
• “…the Oasis utilized a new kind of fault-
tolerant server array that could draw
additional processing power from every
computer connected to it. At the time of
its initial launch, the OASIS could handle
up to five million simultaneous users, with
no discernible latency and no chance of a
8. E R I C C L I N E
“The OASIS quickly became the single most popular use for the
Internet, so much so that the terms “OASIS'' and “Internet”
gradually became synonymous.”
9. W H AT M O S T P E O P L E T H I N K
“ C O O L ! A V R I N T E R N E T ! ”
10. W H AT A N I N T E R N E T R E G U L AT I O N N E R D T H I N K S
“ T H E I N T E R N E T I S P R I VAT E ! ”
12. C A N T H E O A S I S R E A L LY E X I S T ?
E N T I R E LY I M P L A U S I B L E H Y P O T H E T I C A L T I M E
13. G O V E R N A N C E
• Completely decentralised system, yet
all control concentrated in one person.
[see Iñigo Montoya meme]
• Shades of Tyrell, Musk, Jobs, Gates, the
all-powerful white dude narrative.
• GSS is nominally free (subscription costs
one US quarter), it makes money from
virtual land sales and transportation
• Second Life meets net neutrality.
14. I N T E L L E C T U A L
P R O P E R T Y I S D E A D
• Interestingly, the OASIS is an IP-free
zone. Every movie ever made can be re-
played in real time (Flicksync).
• Avatars can be anything, and they
gather powerful artefacts and ships
• No such thing as copyright, or GSS has
powerful licensing agreements.
• Open source and decentralised, but
use trade mark and EULAs.
15. W H AT D O E S I T A L L
M E A N ?
• Hidden in the plot, Eric Cline has unwittingly
described the great problem we currently face.
• The only war that is worth thinking about is the
decentralisation v centrality debate.
• The confusion present in the OASIS is an
unwitting reflection of the current state of
• Cyberlibertarian utopia or tyranny of the
• Rebel Alliance or Evil Empire?