Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not-a-meme #20: TCODDG, or - What kind of metaverse would you build ?

With the recent sexgen mysteries, and food for thought about Ginko, I think this might be quite a good time for it.

The challenge: you've got a platform, with all the sensory interface perfectly the same as in RL. You can enjoy all the 360 degrees of the incredible simulated reality. You can smell all the simulated flowers and choke due to simulated exhaust from the simulated vehicles. You can have more than three dimensions. It is better than in the real world. The huge amount of the data about each of the avatars can be taken and given at any given point of time, allowing you to have sex which is not in any way different than your RL, allowing you to see all the tiniest nuances on the face of your loved one, allowing you to instantly share your most complex and innovative idea with those that would like to know about it. There are no bounds. You are the architect of The Matrix. You have infinite storage resources and computing power. The RL does not exist to interfere - because there is no RL at this point - those unplugged are simply hanging in vacuum. What would you do with all this to build a better place and fix the plagues that haunt the poor humans for so long ?

And here goes my try at this experiment.

I'd have everything happening in the world to be stored. Complete snapshot of the world's state and actions of its inhabitants at any single point of time. And all this information available to everyone. Consequently, any accesses to this information gets stored as well, so there is no such thing as "sneak peek" - and everyone can have automated agents monitoring the others' accesses to their information and giving the results - again, all completely visible to the whole world.

With this, we'd not have to wonder whether Ginko is a ponzi or not, and whether the sexgen bed was copied or recreated from scratch - the investigation in a lawsuit would become simply a matter of unwinding the events back to their origin. Well, knowing that, would we have to go as far as a lawsuit itself ?

Now, there'd still need to be some way to judge whether a given action is good or evil. This would require some sort of participation from the inhabitants of the world. How ? By selecting the sufficient number of the random individuals in order to judge "on a case". Indeed, all of their decisions and the subsequent events are recorded and publicly visible - so they better be coherent. This will avoid any bias in their judgements.

Once the decisions have been taken, the resulting findings are formalized into a form of automatic agents, which will be there in order to scale the decision-making process for the subsequent occasions of the similar kind. The decision of the automatic agent can still be appealed, to avoid the mistakes of the "automated judgement" and improve the behaviour of the agent for the future cases.

Now, you ask me - where is my privacy gone ? Yeah, it's gone. But, I'll ask you - why do you need it ? The privacy is a useful concept in the imperfect RL, where there are always many more out-of-band ways to transfer the information than one can imagine, and where some animals are always more equal than the others - your local grocery store knows much more about you than you know about your local grocery store. This is where the privacy starts from - since they already know more about me than I'd like, I would prefer to keep at least *something* from them. But in a theoretical environment where nothing is hidden - I would think there is no need to do that.

Ow, indeed, there might be the things we do we would not like the others about. For example, how many of the SL escorts would be excited to tell their RL identity ? This is another aspect of privacy - it exists due to the difference of the public morale ("what it should be"), and the actual behaviour ("what it is"). This looks like a little bit of a problem - either the morale is wrong, or the individuals would need some improvements :) How to define what is what ? Right now it just drifts by itself, little by little. The total transparency would fix that.

Intellectual property and rights ? Very easy - since everything is tracked, it is always obvious who came up with the idea first, more over - it is immediately accessible for all for further development and reuse. How to tackle the commercial / non-commercial aspects of it ? (suppose the two branches of ideas give a birth to the commercial and noncommercial product) - very easy. The consumers will take care of it. Since every their action is recorded and transparent, they would be exposing their own behaviour to work against them, when they face the precisely same situation in their own professional area of expertise - if you think you're more important, this will be noted, and if the others do not think so, you'd better think twice before acting like that.

Hmmm... what else do we have ? Personal relationships ? Again, since there is no secrets - there's no opportunities for large regrets and no reason for the lies - everything is transparent, so there's no need to hide anything.

Ah, indeed you will ask - but what about those who will maintain the guts of this system - they definitely have to be more equal than the others ? No. Since the exercise is of a pure theoretical nature, the infrastructure will be sufficiently sophisticated such that the code will take care of its own bugs, so no human involvement would be required.

Re-reading this - I think parts of it do strangely echo with some of the statements from the various religions.. Maybe I should start one ?

"The church of open distributed digital Gods", or TCODDG, for short ?

Disclaimer: the above is vastly inapplicable to RL, due to its stated imperfections. And, according to the most popular religions, it is pretty much already done anyway, except the humans do not have the read access onto the information, and they get the copy of data only in the post-cycle stage of their earthly existence. So, do not try to do that at home :)

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