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Internet-based virtual environments, such as the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game World of Warcraft or the non-game Second Life, are excellent environments for both capturing and emulating human personalities. The fact that these are not unreal, but actual regions of the real world is illustrated by the case of Sean Smith, one of the US diplomats killed in Benghazi in 2012, who was also the diplomat named “Vile Rat” in EVE Online, one of the highest quality and most innovative MMOs. Data on avatar statistics from World of Warcraft and Battleground Europe show how human behavior is automatically recorded in MMOs, in rather fine detail. A survey of the specialized MMO wikis for manygameworlds show how collaborative information resources also capture personalities, in the form of knowledge and patterns of interest, and providing advice to other human beings is already a form of emulation. The chapter concludes with a demonstration pilot project in which an avatar based on a girl who died in 1870 can collect, assemble, and re-programgestures in Second Life, recognizing that physical movements express much about a personality. Even if digital immortality remains beyond our technical reach, the methods outlined in this book can be used to design personalized information systems or semi-autonomous artificial intelligence assistants, and perhaps even to develop new forms of education and psychotherapy that help a person evolve through improved self-emulation.
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- Virtual Worlds
William Sims Bainbridge
- Springer London
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