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<nettime> Meet Milo The Virtual Boy: Cloud-Sculpting The Mind of a Synth
mez breeze on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 08:15:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Meet Milo The Virtual Boy: Cloud-Sculpting The Mind of a Synthetic Human

This TED talk [ http://bit.ly/cPXXTJ ] by Peter Molyneux:

*"...demos Milo, a hotly anticipated video game for Microsoft's Kinect
controller. Perceptive and impressionable like a real 11-year-old, the
virtual boy watches, listens and learns -- recognizing and responding to

The demonstration begins with an explanation of how Milo is constructed. A
combination of the following three elements allow Milo to exist:

   1. A Kinect Camera
   2. Artificial Intelligence developed by Microsoft
   3. Emotional Artificial Intelligence built by Lionhead Studios.

Milo moves through a synthetic environment predicated on User-directed
biofeedback/body gestures: no mechanical controllers are necessary.
Unfortunately, Milo's introductory learning curve [which is integral to the
"game" leveling system] involves inherent gender bias: if you're a girl,
your initial game variable is a Butterfly whereas if your a boy, you'll be
presented with a Snail.

The demonstration goes on to illustrate how Milo's face is comprehensively
AI driven. His facial movements include blush response, nostril "flare" size
[indicating stress], "body matching" [causing neuro-linguistically driven
facial alterations] and responses to verbal cues. Peter then describes how
Milo's personality development is predicated on a Cause-and-Effect dynamic.
This causality is showcased via 3 examples:

   1. The User can choose to direct Milo to squash a snail: if the User does
   it will effect "...how Milo develops".  The specifics of the verbal stimulus
   employed including* how* the User vocalises [specific phrases and
   intonations] all contribute to a database that informs and effects future
   2. The User teaches Milo to skim stones over the surface of a river
   [skewed gender stereotyping is again evident here].
   3. The User choosing to clean Milo's room: Milo's recognition of the
   User's beneficial intervention and verbal engagement promotes sustained
   developmental interaction based on [what Peter terms] "deep psychology".

This "deep psychology" [or what is described in synthaptic terms as
"augmentology" http://bit.ly/cR2sR7 ] encourages a User's empathy loadings.
This in turn allows such games to shift towards complex
experientially-defined engagement. These games surpass the hollow
reinforcement of contemporary Social Games such as Farmville: instead, the
User "levels up" by knitting fictionalised engagement with
personality/identity construction and personalised growth variables. The
element of cloud-directed learning [coaching synthetic humans whose social
and chronological development depends on "crowdsourced" input] creates
enormous opportunties for instruction and feedback via this "Reality Gaming"

Reality Engineer>
Synthetic Environment Strategist>
Game[r + ] Theorist.
::http://unhub.com/netwurker ::

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