« Sneak Peek at Bryn Oh's Upcoming Second Life Art Installation, "Anna's Many Murders" [SLANE] | Main | New World Tech: Trimensional iPhone App Converts Face Photos to 3D Scans »

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Adeon Writer

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the right man for the job.

Arcadia Codesmith

My faith in determinism evaporated when I learned quantum mechanics.

But I like a man who takes the long view.


Are we still free ? Just acquired another screen in my apartment, an iPad 2. News full of "android and iOS both track you, have done so for years". http://tinyvox.com/eQy

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Free will separates us from both beast and machine.

Right on with this post. About time for some of the essentialist questions that used to be part and parcel of the SL experience.

To readers who are relatively affluent, there's Schwartz's paradox of too much choice: at a certain point, the consumer cannot make a decision.

How much choice can we handle in a synthetic world?


Well, I gotta say, I think I might like Rod better than I like Phil.


I was impressed with Rod from the get-go because not only does he dream and enthuse big, he's proven willing to get pragmatic about it and actually write code.

One thing telling about the small games he's made I wonder about is how at least two of them can be played without a single mouse click, and are encouraged to be understood without consulting any help/directions.

Not sure if that entails much in particular, but it does exude minimalism, attention to usability and how such concepts derive from more than graphics and sound. Maybe.

Galatea Gynoid

I've never seen an argument against free will that didn't sound more plausible if you reversed it, G.E. Moore-style, taking free will as a "Moorean fact". An argument to an absurd conclusion does not prove its conclusion right, it proves the conjunction of its premises wrong.

I don't think our understanding of free will and choices will become narrower in the rest of our lives, but insofar as SL is a world of great choice and free will, maybe it can help people see how much they really do have, and dispel the illusion so many suffer from in thinking they lack it in their own lives.

DMC Jurassic

Honestly, I find the Gamasutra article somewhat puzzling. It is written with 1st person quotes from Humble mixed with 3rd person (interviewer) explanation. It would be interesting to hear Rod extrapolate more about these ideas in a personal interview.

[And, said Humble, 21st century cognitive science suggests that we don't possess much, if any, free will.] This is of course the 3rd person Gamasutra Interviewer relaying a Humble thought or information.

Then we get this:

"If you believe we do have free will then the evidence is not going well for your team," Humble said. "I think the science as it emerges is going to become so seeped into our culture it's going to hit us, and change our world view. And I want games to help prove that it is wrong. I would like to solve this problem. Because games are all about choices." Humble


I would add that Science, itself, is extremely broad in scope and carries many disciplines.

I would urge that one must be clear & careful when proclaiming that Science in any way limits Free Will.

Cognitive Science may in-fact observe and/or report a reduction in Free Will due to changes in observable Political Science that affects society. Yes.

However, even if Science slowly awakens us to some home truths suggesting that we may be insignificant compared in scope to that thing called, Universe, it is arguable that Science is more likely to have a liberating affect on Free Will in society rather than suppressing it - because 'Science' gives us a better understanding of the environment in which we exist or are operating within - be it real or virtual.

Free Will in conjunction with the power of computer technology and the Internet worldwide is perhaps one of the most dominant and disruptive new media questions of the modern age. Because the computer science and technology fueling free will at present is itself, disruptive against older mediums of communication.

Free Will through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is being adopted by people to literally reshape the socio-political landscape of the world (i.e. in the Middle East) where people with Free Will are using such technologies to expose discontentment with their governments and establish systems in the hope of creating new realities for themselves and better life experiences.

How is Second Life's ability to present an alternative virtual reality or experience any different?

The real question about Free Will in the context of games and Second Life here is this:

How does HCI (Human Computer Interaction) reshape peoples' lives, reality and society at large by giving people more free will.

The challenge for Rod Humble is how does Second Life find a place among the Facebooks, Youtubes and Twitters of this world in a way that gives Second Life users a similar degree of free will and useful experiences to make SL part of their everyday lives?

And by everyday lives I don’t mean necessarily mixing real world and virtual world identities; even though mixed-reality for some and not others is a desirable free will expected too ;)

DMC Jurassic

CEO, Sciencefiction.info
Science Fiction and Sci Fi
Groups and Regions, Second Life.

Extropia DaSilva

Dunno about the eradication of free will, but Humble is certainly right that 21st Century Cognitive science is going to have a profound effect on both the individual and society. It's going to affect how we think about religion, morality, economics, the self and more.

Here's a fun little finding. In blind taste tests, if you ask people to choose between Pepsi and Coca-cola, most agree Pepsi tastes best. But, if you run a taste test in which the labels are clearly visible, most people say they prefer Coca-cola.

Looking at fMRI scans, when it is a blind taste test and the drinks are not labelled, Pepsi triggers greater activity in the reward parts of the brain. But when the labels are visible, Coca-Cola sets off more activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is involved in one's self perception. In other words, because you identify with the brand, the higher cognitive functions dealing with self-perception and brand awareness overrides the taste impression and makes Coca Cola taste better even though it is actually NOT as tasty as Pepsi!

Marketing companies are now working closely with cognitive scientists to make even more effective marketing campaigns, brands, etc. Will this lead to the end of free will? Perhaps not, but it may lead to your being influenced and not realising it.


less interface interference... all else is just making machines.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Nylon Pinkney Outfitters in SL
SL Hair Fair Wigs for Kids benefit
my site ... ... ...