Monday, August 25, 2008

In some perfect future

terminator season 2
Botgirl joins Summer Glau in cast of Sarah Connor Chronicles

If two bots kiss in an empty sim

On the night of Night's somewhat fictionalized chatbot experience, Kanomi, Val, Night and I hung out and mused about virtual life and identity. Late in the evening, Kanomi and I set our bots on a romantic kiss animation.

Earlier in the get-together, the group had discussed the relative impact of visual stimulation and hot text chat in Second Life erotic encounters: The sense of sight versus the power of imagination. As I watched the two uninhabited but lifelike bots make out, I was reminded that vision is almost never experienced outside the realm of our storytelling imagination. The phrase "every picture tells a story" is misleading. Pictures don't tell stories. They elicit stories from our minds.

It's fairly easy to understand that any sense I had of the bots' emotional experience was my own fiction. Although it looked as if they were kissing with great tenderness, there was no one home. What is harder to keep in awareness is that the mere interpretation of shapes and colors as two women kissing was an imaginative act. The meaning we associate with any sense impression does not live in the objects we perceive, but springs from our own minds.

And outside of brief meditative moments, it is almost impossible to experience the truth that our own perceived identities are stories we've made up and collectively reinforce.


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at