Browsing Category Philosophy

Plato’s virtual cave

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As gamers we are used to switching between alternate realities by immersing ourselves into the games we play. In my article “Does gaming impact my dreams?” I discussed this subject further while musing over the reasons why gamers more often experience lucid dreaming than their peers. I ended the article by saying:

When we then enter the world of dreaming, do we [as gamers] then recognize the signs of fiction and fantasy more easily than others? It is indeed an intriguing idea and the philosophical implications of this is fascinating to me. But more on that another time.

Well, my friends, it’s “another time”. It’s about to get deep!

When I hit the play button and enter a new game I am very much aware

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Identity Crisis!

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As gamers we are used to adopting new identities. We then discard them the same way a snake sheds it’s skins. We change between personalities as often as a girl changes her clothes. Want a make-over? Start playing a new game or create a new character. You can be the hero of Gotham City, you can be Ronaldo, you can be Lara Croft. Or maybe you just want to be a more ideal version of yourself. The possibilities are endless. This begs the question – As gamers, are we all suffering from some strange form of multiple-personality disorder?

For myself, I’ve never felt all my (sometimes wildly opposing) personality traits fit very well into just one person. As a result of this, as well as being a very playful person in general, I have gone by many different names – both in games and in real life.

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Social Identity and Guilds in MMORPGs

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As you might have noticed by now I am always keen to know the reasons why people choose to game, especially in MMOs. The answer to this can reveal so much. So please, humour me for a second and answer me this:

Which of the following reasons describes your motivation for gaming most accurately?

  1. I like competition and enjoy pushing myself to be better.
  2. As well as meeting new interesting people, I play to spend time and maintain contact with the friends I have made in game.
  3. I log in order to sometimes get a break from RL by exploring virtual worlds, characters and story lines.

Of course we are most likely effected by more than one of these motivations but it is possible that one of them is more dominant than the rest. Are you an achievement, social or immersion focused gamer? What is interesting in thinking about this question is that it can effect how important your “Online Social Identity” is to you.

How we are seen by others is extremely important to us in real life but it clearly also transcends to online gaming. Let me explain myself.

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Thoughts on A.I. – A journey through fictionalized philosophy

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If A.I. is conceivable than it is arguably possible. Now if it was possible then we need to ask ourselves “Is it desirable?”. Let’s have a look at implications.

The movie Ex Machina successfully blurs the lines between man and machine.

NATHAN
I programmed her to be heterosexual. Just like you were programmed to be heterosexual.

CALEB
Nobody programmed me to be straight.

NATHAN
But you are attracted to her.

CALEB
This is childish.

NATHAN
No, this is adult. And by the way, you decided to be straight? Please. Of course you were programmed. By nature or nurture, or both.

– Ex Machina, The screenplay

Instead of asking how artificial intelligence resembles humans and their behavior why don’t we turn this question upside down and ask ourselves how we resemble artificial intelligence. As humans we are conditioned or “programmed” by our environment and experiences. So what is the difference between us and a machine?

In the sci-fi book “Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick we are introduced to the self destructive nature of man by the character Phil Resch and his increasingly lacking ability to emphasise. Resch has lost all empathy for androids as well as any living thing. He kills not because it is his job to do so but because he enjoys it. When Resch eventually finds out that he is not an android he is in fact surprised. The main character of the book, Rick, can come to no other conclusion except that Resch has lost a critical part of himself that made him human. This is a part of the reoccurring theme of depersonalization discussed in the book. 

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Ex Machina analysis

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Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s directorial debut, is a truly thought provoking film with a fitting ambiguous ending which should leave your mind racing. Though the film’s premise is not original (considering Spielberg’s AI, Pinocchio, Blade Runner – the list goes on) there are characteristics which separates the script from others of it’s kind. The story is set in the middle of nowhere in the isolated state of the art home belonging to the AI-creator and tech-billionaire Nathan. Caleb, who starts off as the protagonist, has been brought there to serve as the human part of a kind of Turing Test. Ava is the AI which will be examined. Her ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human will be determined by Caleb, a coder at a Google-esque company called Bluebook created by Nathan. Ava is also the enigma at the heart of this film and the philosophical problems that it presents.

SPOILER ALERT

Various thought experiments are referred to in the film but also experienced first hand by the viewer. The question we ask ourselves is, can Ava,  (as in the thought experiment ‘Mary’s Room’ mentioned by Caleb in the movie) ever really know the world if she is only ever kept in the room Nathan prepared for her? For as she is kept in this prison she could be seen as stuck inside Plato’s cave where she can only see the shadows of reality dancing on the wall of the cave. She cannot experience them first hand.

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RE: Red pill, blue pill @Noctua

To read the original post: http://gamersdecrypted.com/red-pill-blue-pill/

Sartre’s most famous quote has to be L’enfer, c’est les autres (Huis Clos): Hell is other people. To paraphrase a scene from this book: imagine being locked up with bad and humorless pug’s having to play warzones together eternally. Blame those pug’s! It’s not always delusional to do that. Sometimes it is them.

Yes, according to Sartre, man is doomed to be free, but this being free isn’t easy to grasp nor instantly clear.

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Red pill, blue pill

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You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Existentialist Jean-Paul Sarte said “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

Sartre was of the belief that ours is a godless universe. Thus there are no absolute guide or understanding in life, neither is there a moral code for us to follow. Sartre meant that we are all radically free. Free to the point of feeling abandoned and forced to take full responsibility for everything that happens, even though we probably don’t really want to.

He also famously said “Existence precedes essence” meaning one first exists, then invents oneself through the choices we make.

The responsibilities that come attached with this freedom can be quite intimidating.

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