Friday, July 31, 2009

Achievements for Second Life

I was checking my Twitter today when I came across a discussion about whether or not Second Life should implement some sort of 'achievements' system to encourage player participation and community involvement, similar to what is done on Xbox Live.

It just so happens my "source" in the Lab has leaked an early draft of an achievements proposal from Linden Lab.

Hmm, I think it needs some work...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ray Kurzweil's Keynote Address

It was recently announced that the keynote speaker at this year's Second Life Community Convention will be none other than transhumanist spokesbeing Ray Kurzweil. While Ray's talks can be rather visionary and erudite, I've been told by a confidential source that he was asked to "tone it down a bit" so the bondage bed salesmen could enjoy it too. And he's complied, judging by this advanced copy my source gave me. So enjoy the preview, and I'll see you at the show!

Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and those of you that have evolved beyond your fleshy cages and embraced the liquid unity of the Rosendale Poly-Mind.
(Pause for Laughter)

I just flew in from the scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority, and boy are my arms tired!
(Pause for Laughter. If laughter goes on too long, wave hands magnanimously.)

I'm Ray Kurzweil, a futurist, a technologist, and an inventor. I helped Al Gore create the Internet. Just kidding. I did that by myself.

Al is more responsible for global warming. That's the number one export from Washington D.C., you know. Hot air!

(Wait for Laughter. If laughter persists, blow nose loudly. If it continues, fake heart attack, Red Foxx style, until standing ovation ceases completely.)

Thank you, thank you. Please take your seats. I'm doing my part to fight global warming, though. I invented something I call the Kurzweil Virtual Solar Panel.

Just slap a few of those babies on your Second Life Segway and the utility companies will never bother you again!

That's right, now you can live off the grid while on the grid!

(Wait for Laughter. If no one laughs, become angry and leave.)

But all kidding aside, I am here to deliver an important, in fact remarkable message.
(Thump podium dramatically.)

Ladies. Gentlemen. Podcasters. The Singularity is Here.
(Pause for gasps of shock and surprise.)

How do I know this?
(Continue in a hushed whisper.)

Because an SL bots has passed the Turing Test.
(Pause for more gasps of shock and surprise. If no one gets the significance, pound the podium and let loose a primal scream.)

Let me explain. I was on the Mainland in my Ramona the Pop-Star avatar, fending off some podcasters who were demanding that I do voice with them, when suddenly this avatar came up to me and said, "I built a bot that can past the Turing Test."

I was like, "No Way." And she -- her name was Kanomi, and I think she was a she, but I was too excited by her claims to go into voice chat to verify her gender -- she said, "Yes way."

So we went to her secret laboratory and she introduced me to two more people, Tweedledeee and Tweedledum. Both looked like the old, moronic default male avatar, you know, the one preferred by M Linden.

Anyway, she said, "One of these avatars is a human being. And one is a script. Go ahead and talk to them, and tell me which one is real, and which one is the bot."

I said, "You're on, Ms. Pikajuna," and proceeded to interrogate them. Here is a transcript.

Ramona Hugsalot: Hello, how are you?
Tweedledee: Yo beeeetch!
Tweedledum: R u a g1rl 4 reallzz?!

Ramona Hugsalot: How is the weather where you are?
Tweedledee: You got to rizzle before you shizzle!
Tweedledum: UR teh HOt, do u want 2 sexors???!

Ramona Hugsalot: What can you tell me about the Turing Test?
Tweedledee: HOOOWLLZZ!!!!
Tweedledum: Everyboty make some noize!

It goes on like that for eight more, grueling hours, but I think you get the idea. I simply could not distinguish between a human moron and a chatbot programmed to sound like a bling-tard. I acknowledged Ms. Pikajuna's programmatic prowess and was forced to admit her bot passed the Turing Test.

And once the Test has been passed, as I wrote in my book The Singularity Is Near (available on, and if you brought a copy I'll be happy to autograph it for 500 Lindens), that means the Singularity is no longer Near, it is Here.

So what does that mean? It means a lot of change as we enter the post-human era.

For starters, we will no longer have any use for Las Vegas-style stage magicians.

In the future, we will all be able to pull rabbits out of our own hats. And if we don't want to pull rabbits out of hats, we can pull them out of our boots.

And they needn't be rabbits. They might be ducks. They might be wallabies. That choice is up to us.

Are you ready to make that choice with me?

(Pause for standing ovation.)

Thank, thank you very much. Enjoy the Convention. I'll be at the bar, getting fucked up on Romulan Ale.

STARTUPS: Robot Sushi