The 2nd life topic for today made me want to examine again what it might mean to take the “machine’s point of view” when it comes to the evolution of virtual worlds. Does it make any sense to ask how humans are seen from the point of view of their avatars, what kinds of “machinic” intelligence, perception, affection do avatars have? can we imagine a world where the avatars view us as so many catalysts to their evolution and reproduction… at what thresholds do avatars discard their human supports and develop means to program and think for themselves? Is such a scenario impossible, or is it happening already in some form (e.g., self programming neural net research). Philosophers like Hubert Dreyfus argue that it is impossible for “smart machines” to ever develop human intelligence, capacities for empathy, feeling etc. But more and more, perhaps, we are pushed to assign something like “real” intelligence to technologies. Many human decisions these days only occur after consulting simulation models devised by machines (the pentagon has long been working on such automated decision capabilities for war technologies).

Just the thoughts of someone who has read too much about this stuff 🙂 Bill