Category Archives: AI

Purchasing/Renting Land in Second Life is Annoying

If you have ever bought or rented Second Life property, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  The land search tool offered through your viewer is practically worthless.  It is not worthless by design.  Most all the important data should be there in columns.  Price, area, price per meter, etc. are most everything you need to compare properties and identify those you would like to visit.   In addition, columns such as lindens per prim or some intensity of use rating would be helpful, however, given the way in which the existing columns are misused and ignored, what would be the point of adding them.  It is actually hard to find a listing for which the seller has bothered to fill out any of this stuff accurately or honestly.  The listings returned by a search can be sorted by these columns.   The default price now seems to be just 1L, entered this way i can only presume so as to not end up placed at the bottom of a sort on price.  Undoubtedly, if only a few people did this, those that did would get better placement.  Now that everyone does, the entire column is useless along with the L per meter one.  All information regarding price, size and prims is now reported in the description(name) field where it cannot be sorted upon or automatically plugged in to revealing calculated ratios.    Each “name” reads something like “Land Sale DSE Res L$2062wk/1406p/6144m Aloha Pearl (SE)”.   To compare competing properties based on price per unit, you must enter this data manually into your own spreadsheet.  When you finally narrow your choices in this laborious way and  go to visit the properties you have selected, you often find that a lot of your calculated price per prim and price per meter numbers are wrong.  Whether this is a deliberate “bait and switch” or simple data entry error, it definitely adds to my growing frustration with the whole process.   Would it be so bad to make it easy for people to compare properties on metrics such as price per unit?  The system is already set up to work like this.   Yet the last I checked there was not one seller who had bothered to provide the correct information in the correct fields.    Just as in some rl markets which require regulation to create reasonable and efficient pricing, I believe that the only way this situation will change for the better will be through some sort of Linden edict.  If I can come up with a market driven solution, I will happily share it, however for now I am pretty much at a loss.  This probably has to come from the top.  Please fix this.  Land is potentially the most important part of the entire SL economy.  It should be much easier to make a good purchasing decision than it currently is.

Incidentally, SL land ownership is at its lowest point in 8 years.




In 1945, Isaac Asimov wrote Escape!, a short story featuring a character known as “The Brain”, a self-aware supercomputer.  Such machines have played a prominent role in science fiction ever since.  At the same time, real computer technology has advanced at an astounding pace, often surpassing even the wildest speculation of anterior futurists.   While some areas of artificial intelligence technology have shown great progress,  others, including many critical to the development of sentient silicon, have lagged.  Even today, whether or not a machine will ever possess the sense of self-awareness shown by an average house cat is a matter of serious debate.  It may never happen, or, it may one day be man’s greatest accomplishment.

Really it has been kinda disappointing watching the progress of this technology.  Only now do things really seem to be taking off.  As a little kid, i created an Applesoft basic game of pick-up sticks using lo-res graphics and a simple AI.  In college philosophy as an undergrad I wrote papers on theories about free-will and their implications for the development of artificial personalities.  Fresh out of school I started looking into chatterbots and the turing test.  I was fond of checking out every bot I could find, spending lots of time on the Simon Laven page and pondering the problem of context.  After another 15 years of programming, java, big data, medical software, etc. I have come back to the problem with a few ideas at a point where available hardware and software might finally be up to the task.  Or at least some of the task.  Most significantly, concepts such as horizontal scaling, neural networks, contextual thesauruses, etc may finally allow computers to replace humans in many decision making roles and create the appearance of self awareness, consciousness or even fondness.  Will  this consciousness be real or just appear so?  Does it matter?  After all, are we not as people judged entirely by what can be perceived through observation?  Is the unobservable quality we are looking for really the soul/magic?