Tech philosopher claims AI game characters have feelings and should have rights, wait what?

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Have you ever stopped to wonder if that random passerby in Grand Theft Auto V had a family before he was reduced to a pulp? Or what about the many guards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, all of whom were shot in the knee – did you ask any of them if they needed help? Of course not, because NPCs aren’t real living beings with emotions and consciousness. Not yet, anyway, but as AI progresses, it could pose some interesting scenarios in games and in the metaverse.
So suggests David Chalmers, a technophilosopher professor at New York University, who had an interesting conversation about AI with Gamer on PC. AI is still a hot topic these days, but even more so after a Google engineer was placed on paid administrative leave for allegedly raising AI ethics issues within the company. ‘company.
In case you missed all the hubbub, engineer Blake Lemoine has come to the conclusion that Google’s Language Model for Dialog Applications, or LaMDA, is sentient and has a soul. His argument is based on various discussions he had with LaMDA, in which the AI ​​served up responses that seemed to show self-reflection, a desire to improve, and even emotions.

AI is certainly getting better at creating the illusion of sentience and has come a long way since the days of Dr Sbaitso, for those of you old enough and geeky enough to remember the text-to-speech program AI Creative Labs released with its Sound Blaster board in the early 1990s. But could AI NPCs really achieve consciousness one day? This is one of the questions PCG posed at Chalmers.

“Could they be conscious? My view is yes,” Chalmers said. “I think their lives are real and they deserve rights. I think every conscious being deserves rights, or what philosophers call moral status. Their lives matter.”

Cortana
Cortana – “Halo” TV Series, Credit: Paramount, Cortana – “Halo” Video Game, Credit 343 Industries
This is an interesting and certainly controversial point of view. There is also an inherent enigma that goes along with this. If advancements in AI lead to sentient NPCs, then is it even ethical to create them in games? Think about all the horrible things we do to NPCs in games that we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) do to real people. And then there’s the matter of repercussions if, as Chalmers suggests, NPCs deserve rights.

“If you simulate a human silicon brain, you’ll get a conscious being like us. So to me, that suggests these beings deserve rights,” Chalmers says. “It’s true whether they’re inside or outside the metaverse…there will be a lot of AI systems cohabiting in the metaverse with human beings.”

The metaverse makes it even murkier, because even when you’re not logged in and not participating, NPCs will still be wandering around and doing what they’re doing. You know, kinda like the movie free guy.

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