Monthly Archives: February 2014

Playing the Online Hero, Offline

Blog of the Courtier

An interesting study was issued recently by psychologists at the University of Illinois, suggesting that the profile pictures or “avatars” that people choose to use in online gaming may subconsciously influence how they see themselves, and how they treat other people.  Researchers found that when subjects thought of themselves as Superman, they were less likely to harm someone else when given an opportunity to do so (in a minor way) in real life.  Conversely, when the subjects identified with the evil Lord Voldemort from “Harry Potter”, they were far more likely to take advantage of a real-life opportunity to harm someone else – again, even if only in a minor way.

Obviously there are potential implications from this study with respect to violent video games, and these results will be poured over by experts in developmental psychology. However rather than focusing on the negative conclusions one might reasonably draw…

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With DeepMind, Google Prepares For A Future Where We See Ourselves In Every Computing Interaction

TechCrunch

Google seems to have paid at least $500 million to acquire DeepMind, an artificial intelligence startup that has a number of high-profile investors, and that has demoed tech which shows computers playing video games in ways very similar to human players. Facebook reportedly also tried to buy the company, and the question on most people’s minds is “Why?”

More intelligent computing means more insightful data gathering and analysis, of course. Any old computer can collect information, and even do some basic analytics work in terms of comparing and contrasting it to other sets of data, drawing simple conclusions where causal or correlational factors are plainly obvious. But it still takes human analysts to make meaning from all that data, and to select the significant information from the huge, indiscriminate firehose of consumer data that comes in every day.

AI and machine learning expertise can help improve the efficiency and…

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I hope “Her” is not a prophecy