February 8th, 2009


Thoughts on Computer Games and Evolution

Said thoughts being brought about by going to see a discussion on that subject because Ken MacLeod was involved (and tisme got me a couple of tickets).

Computer games design is, memetic - the design ideas for each one are clearly memes.  Out of the  whole of the human/computer interaction space they've colonised certain areas, largely grouped themselves into a few species, and propagate based on a fitness function of how much money they make - which is directly proportional to how popular they are.

Of course, their popularity is based on how well they affect people - they tap directly into human emotions and instincts.  Everything from simple reaction testing to provoking fear and stress responses.  Which is, in turn based on human evolution.

So you've got the evolution of computer systems, interfacing with people, their fitness function directly related to the affect they have on our nervous system, itself the result of our own evolution.


Also, autopope was there, who I seem to perpetually orbit in the same circles as, and seem to actually talk to about once a year - we ended up sitting on opposite sides of the room, and afterwards he was caught up with one group of people, and me with another.  One of these days we'll both be in the pub at the same time without me dashing off somewhere instantly!

Reasons to love the internet #7633

Amanda Palmer produced a song (along with Ben Folds, who rocks) about a girl who is date raped, has an abortion, and is ostracised in school for it, but is still happy, because her favourite band (Oasis) sent her an autographed photo, which has made her week.  It's been deliberately produced to be as upbeat as possible.  Every musical outlet in the UK has refused to play it, on the grounds that it “makes light of rape, religion and abortion”.

As she says on her blog:

And the thing I love most about the internet is that 10 years ago I never would have heard this controversy, I would never have heard the song, and I certainly wouldn't have seen the video:

And whether or not you like the music, or the video (and while I'm amused it's not really my kind of thing), that the artist can reach out to the audience without needing airplay from the media is fantastic.
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