Artificial Life: Does it have a social function?

As I develop steering behaviours and deal with object avoidance, I have been quietly wondering what social applications these developments could have in a world such as Second Life. Would anyone even notice them? Would they be detested and forced to private experiments?

I have been musing of a flock of hypothetical lag-avoiding birds. They would be coded to detect signs of lag and flock to sims with the best performance. They'd also take off in startled flight in the case of a simulator reaching conditions that might cause it to crash.

This hypothetical flock of birds could have a direct impact in giving notice to local avatars about possible sim down-time. It could also lead avatars to lag-averse areas. And it would be a flock of birds -- meta-living creatures other than avatars to fill up the landscape.

However, there have to be other useful applications in online worlds alone for virtual life. There could be games, playing with ideas of genetics, interaction, behaviour learning, etc... so I'm putting it to all interested aLife enthusiasts -- what do you think are some of the potential uses for artificial life in Second Life and other virtual worlds?


At September 15, 2005 4:54 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that a version of your parasite could be very useful...allow it to act as a "script collector". In exchange for a "ride" the parasite (or better, symbiont) offers scripts it has collected to users. It can also act as a travelling salesman, trading scripts with users...

reproduction can be based on some measure of success (how many positive interactions it has with users, for example).

Just a thought.

-Azrael Baphomet

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At October 23, 2006 4:37 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm working on a set of genetics simulations in the SL environment. It's in three sections, one for Mendelian genetics (Abbey, gardens, greenhouse), one for molecular stuff (a high-rise tower across from the Abbey), and one for populations (the gene pool). It's in the early stages yet, so I haven't listed it on the SL directory, but you can see it in Immaculate, northeast corner.

At November 24, 2006 4:06 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one would notice more natural movements, interactions, and activities among scripted creatures of all kinds. I believe that while SL will always deviate from the laws of RL, imitation of RL will add to the overall abilty for a virtual environment to maintain a level of "suspension of disbelief". Something I think is very important and tangable in terms of user experience. Even if a person or crowd doesn't notice these things directly, I believe it will be indirectly noticed, and will draw people to that area even if they don't know why or understand why they are so drawn.

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