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"I, Gamer"

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Sun 19/09/04 at 11:41
Posts: 2,781
This has been covered so many times that by now it's become a drole subject, namely in the media recently. On February 27th, 2004, Warren Leblanc, 17, repeatedly stabbed 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah after "luring him to a Leicester park to steal from him" in what was named a "copycat killing", claiming that Leblanc was copying something he saw in the game Manhunt.

I'm getting slightly off point there, but what I'm getting at is something that's been covered diversely in the media around us in the past few years. It's been featured in Hollywood very recently (in the film "I Robot"). I have a question to ask you - where is the point where what I am playing on a console is no longer just disseminating polygonal shapes and actually maliciously butchering a being?

Any fans of Science Fiction will instantly see what I mean - just look at Star Wars, Star Trek, or any countless other number of Sci-Fi TV shows out there. What do they all have in common? Bingo - they all have a concept of an ungiven number of different types of species in the universe.

Take a look at The Matrix Revolutions - Neo meets Ramakanda and Kamala, and despite the fact that they're programmes, they still want to save their daughter, Sati, from the terror that is about to bestow itself upon the inhabitants of The Matrix. This begs a modicum of new questions, namely - can programmes and code have feeling? In the Train Station in that scene, the programmes insist that they can live, and as a result, love.

I'm a modest fan of Science Fiction - I've seen a load of films that pretain to themes revolving around robots or non-human lifeforms (AI, I, Robot, Terminator Trilogy etc). Now, this isn't exactly the most healthy thinking on the planet, but still, it does make me question my methods to a degree. I mean, I'm justified in killing the mass of head-crabs that want to mess me up, but that's only because a plot-line has been strewn in front of me and I have to get to the end. My question is this - should we be doing this?

Now, before I continue, I'd like to say that I'm not dellusioned to the extent of thinking that a games company could create life inside a game, because that's perhpas the most ridiculous thing anyone could possible fathom. Not to mention the mass of laws prohibiting such activities, well, it'd be just so damn complicated. In this topic, you're the audience, and I'm the Devil's Advocate.

Of course, I've exaggerated the true situation ten fold, as any non-player characters are just lines of code that are pre-programmed to perform said action to move the plot forward, to level your character or whatnot. But what I'm saying is this - in 10, 20, 50 or 100 years time, is it going to be the same? There's a line where no longer will NPCs be just lines of code on a screen, but they will be something greater, something a damn sight more realistic.

There is a line. I don't know where this line is drawn, but it's there, and eventually, there will be a time when I stand over a young mother with my Armalay semi-automatic carbine rifle and think "what did she do to me?" On the other end of the spectrum, at what point will the enemy show remorse or compassion at my never-ending fear and the fact that I have a family to bring the money home to? Is there a line where we can call something created in a developmental studio a living thing?

Again, I've raised a multitude of more questions, such as - how long is VR gaming away? Would society ever recognise these lines of code as living entities? What laws would be put in place ("human" rights for lines of code!?)? Putting the judicial system aside, should humans be able to have the power to create a living entity, from a moral standpoint?

Anyone who has played Zone of the Enders will understand my next point with ease. The main character, Leo, seems to have a connection to the computer mainframe, ADA. There's various points in the game where the mechanoid that Leo is flying in is under attack, and the mainframe tells Leo to abort the mission and save himself, but Leo refuses to "leave her behind". The mainframe cannot understand why he would have such feelings for something that is not human, but in Leo's eyes, the eyes of a young boy, I might add, Leo hears a human-voice and therefore treats this machine as a human.

By the time the game is over, it makes you question what it really is to be human. Of course, you must have blood in your body, and exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, yadda yadda yadda, but if even a machine can fathom emotions, then it makes one reconsider the definition of human (from anything other than a biological standpoint).

Look at the various species of animals - it's been proven that they can show certain emotions and feel certain things. Hans Seyle injected rats with various drugs and actually discovered that the rats developed stomach ulcers, but not due to the fear of the drug, but due to the fear of the syringe needle. Animals can work in teams to attack a predator among other things, yet society would still happily off them to better the human race.

I eat meat, I drink milk and I don't care what material my clothes are made from. This is a few shared by a large percentage of humans the world over, and it certainly contributes to the thinking that if animals, living things, are expendable, then nobody is going to give a flying funk about some lines of code that somebody knocked up.

In closing, I think it'll be a long, long time before we envision truely autonomous AI, but that in time, it will certainly come along.

Thanks for reading,
Mon 20/09/04 at 18:57
Posts: 12,425
Yeah, but it's a new staffie so he wouldn't know.

They should give everyone's (new people anyway) address to Snuggly, who knows Shaneo's addy off my heart apparently, then we would all know.

What do ya mean "privacy policy"?
Mon 20/09/04 at 18:18
Posts: 2,781
Fine, you'll see that I do not share the address of any users here...

And I've already won one GAD. Do you really think that staff would let me win if I was said person?
Mon 20/09/04 at 18:15
"I love yo... lamp."
Posts: 19,577
Well, the sane thing to do is give him GAD, then see what address it is to be sent to. If it is Shaneo's, or even remotely near his, then ban him again. He was told never to come onto SR again remember.
Mon 20/09/04 at 18:12
Posts: 10,437
Memorandum! wrote:
> Could you be any more Shaneo?

Rickoss wrote:
> Could you be any more Shaneo?

Seems not.
Mon 20/09/04 at 18:08
Posts: 2,781
I'm not this Shaneo person, you doik.
Mon 20/09/04 at 17:04
Posts: 3,617
I bet SR let Shaneo win again.

Their loss, I suppose.
Sun 19/09/04 at 21:35
Posts: 2,781
And even then, it'd have to be made affordable, which would be a far site off yet.
Sun 19/09/04 at 20:58
"Cigar smoker"
Posts: 7,885
I think for 3D realism to progress any further to say FF Spirits Within standard then we're gonna have to see a major step forward in computer (read computer as bog standard PCs) technology - available to the masses.
Sun 19/09/04 at 19:31
Posts: 2,781
I think that half the problem is money. For example, FF: The Spirits Within had the best mouth-movements in the industry, and if the money poured into that could be poured into a game, the realism would be far greater.
Sun 19/09/04 at 18:33
Posts: 654
I'd say that the next step for games is 3d. I dont think that game characters can evolve into artificially intelligent life forms until this step is taken. I'm talking about virtual reality. Characters that jump out the screen, move in a more lifelike way and have realistic mannerisms. Although thats not to say that video games at the moment are unrealistic. Take deus ex for example, the characters in that are very lifelike. Problem is, the animations can faulter, bad mouth movement for instance. Basically all I'm saying is the gaming world isn't ready for Ai. Even if it could be done, I feel that their are many more issues that need to be built upon to make the world of gaming, as lifelike as absolutely possible.

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