Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Beyond Turing

Clive Thompson recently wrote that we may be already beyond turing (see the article on Wired News here ). It is well worth a read, but for me he doesn't put forward a really convincing argument.

To summarise and paraphrase and generally miss the point, he is saying that playing computer games can lead you to care about some of the AI characters. I play a lot of games and this doesn't often happen. Well not to me anyway. The idea of caring about a computer game character can seem ridiculous, but I do remember feeling a little upset over one of the deaths in Final Fantasy seven (speaking of Final Fantasy, if you like those games, check out Lost Odyssey - it's great). That is very different from what Clive is talking about however, because the emotions essentially come from the story and not the game play.

Can game play illicit emotional responses in people such that they care for and treat AI characters as they would treat another person? I have yet to really experience this myself and put it down to a lack of depth in the artificial intelligence that is driving these agents in games, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Maybe the Sims can produce this kind of response and fool a person into treating a digital entity as though it were real?




3 comments:

Claire said...

I don't often play many computer games but I certainly felt a lot of sympathy for Grandma Coto on 'Lost Odyssey' just recently when watching you play. I even sat and read screen after screen of text, gripped by the story & this comes from a 'non-gamer' so maybe you can become attached to the characters.. and maybe it isn't so ridiculous afterall! :-)

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Noumenon said...

I almost felt myself falling for Princess Medea in Dragon Quest VIII -- you only got to talk to her in snatches at first and I always wanted to go back and talk to her because she was really kind and she had real emotions to express about the way the world was turning out and what her life would become.