Second Life, Mono, & The Invasion Of The Bots
Second Life scripting is getting an update, called Mono, which will speed up scripts by 240% (SL Wiki). And the amount of memory available to any script is being increased from 16k to 64k. And at this point the geeks out there will be cheering, and the rest will be yawning and looking for something else to click on. But don’t turn away yet, think of the uses for all this unleashed processing power that’s suddenly available for free.
Well, Author SciFi author Rudy Rucker has already done some of the thinking for us. In his new novel, Postsingular (Free PDF Download), he imagines a future where computing is ubiquitous and everywhere – and Second Life would be such a good place to carry out the experiments to test the functionality of the idea.
This is from the books blurb…….
“Postsingular takes on the question of what will happen after the Singularity—what will happen after computers become as smart as humans and nanotechnology takes on the power of magic?
A mad scientist decides it might be a good idea to create a giant virtual reality simulation that is running a copy of Earth and of most of the people in it. Fine, but in order to create this simulation, the mad scientist plans to grind our planet into a zillion supercomputing nanomachines called nants.
Ultrageek Ond Lutter and his autistic son Chu find a way to block the nants—but then Ond can’t resist infesting Earth with a congenial breed of quantum-computing nanomachines called orphids.
The orphids coat the planet, one or two per square millimeter, and now everyone is on-line all the time, and everything is visible in the orphidnet. Artificial life forms emerge in the orphidnet, these are helpful agents called beezies, and they pyramid together into a superhuman planetary mind called the Big Pig. People can mentally access the Big Pig and feel like geniuses—with the catch that when they come down they can’t really remember what they saw. Those addicted to this new kind of high are called pigheads”
This might sound a little ambitious, but the ability to create self reproducing objects, combined with a decent amount of processing power which could be used for Good or Evil, sound like exactly what SL would be the perect laboratory for, in a simplified state.
And what uses would you find for it? Again, we don’t have to think too hard, as someone has got there before us.
George P. Dvorsky writes on his blog Sentient Developments – a wonderfully titled piece – Seven ways to control the Galaxy with self-replicating probes (read it and mentally replace words like world, galaxy or universe with Second Life) about the uses that this kind of self aware self replicating technology can be used for…..
I’m sure you can think of examples of most of these that you’ve already seen in SL. The most obvious of these is Beserking – it’s a perfect description of most griefing attacks.
But here’s an example of something that might be possible that combines 2 & 5. Imagine a newbie helper bot, invisible but ubiquitous, perhaps one every 20 metres or so, or maybe just floating around, waiting to follow any passerby, and listening out for any conversation from a newbie. And if, after a bit of natural language processing, the bot decides that the newb is asking for help, then help will be proffered.
So if a bot in a club heard the phrase “How do I dance”, it would offer local information about the location of the danceball. But if the phrase was “I want to go to a club with more than five people”, the bot would communicate with all its sister bots, and all the club bots from around the grid would report back how crowded they are.
This is a very simple example – I could imagine bots collecting information about freebies, bots recording the statistics for all the pieces of land on the grid, shopping bots, stalker bots, knowledge bots, advertiser bots, all manner of bots.
So is this idea seriously useful or seriously frightening?