Virtual worlds are one of the newest ways people all around the world can collaborate. The first thing that pops in to our minds about virtual worlds is that, a person can talk, interact and do the stuff he/she wouldn't be able to do in a regular world. So the first and the most basic use of virtual worlds is to create a place where people with disabilites, problems or merely shy could break out of their shell and talk without being worried about people judging them. There are many ways virtual worlds can be helpful. Huge companies these days are using virtual worlds as a interaction center where they could train their employee's. It is helpful to the employee's too in a sense that they get to do or practice the stuff they don't understand over and over again without being embarrassed about it. Similarly, the army has also started using the virtual worlds to train the newly joined army officers.
Virtual worlds help foster social networking skills, it gives people a chance to escape to a place where they wont be judged. It is time saving in the sense that the army and the companies dont have to spend a lot of time training their new employee's. It also saves resources, like the space and money that they have to put in to train these new officers or employee's. It also saves time for many high profile people by being able to conduct conferences over these virtual worlds. While these are some of the pros of virtual worlds, the cons are not ignorable too. The first thing that virtual worlds tell us is that it is a waste of time. Poeple spend hours in front of the computer doing and taking to people they do not know and doing stuff that isn't productive in many ways. People start living in a very unrealistic world with unrealistic expections. And their social skills suffer even more.
Virtual worlds of the future would look in my opinion, very real and I think we'll advance in a way where people can change their apperance and enter these worlds themselves without the use of a cimputer.