It's All Fun And Games Until… Well… It's Work

from the kill-dragons-or-file-documents? dept

It’s no secret that online video games can be big business. We’ve already discussed how there are virtual sweatshops in places like China, where people are playing online games all day long just to accumulate virtual products to sell for real money. However, it looks like one new startup is looking to take that idea in a different direction: helping to make tedious tasks more enjoyable by turning them into more of a game. The idea is to take monotonous work tasks and move them into an online game, so that they seem a bit more “fun.” Of course, a boring task is still a boring task, and you have to wonder if slaying dragons in alphabetical order is going to be more fun than simply filing. Still, it is interesting to see this as being a variety of different ideas all melding together. The first is the idea of using these virtual worlds as a platform for other companies to build valuable servies. The second is the idea of figuring out better ways to get humans to do boring tasks — such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk offering. However, as the virtual sweatshop situation has shown, a boring, monotonous job is often boring and monotonous because it’s naturally boring and monotonous… and no amount of virtual avatars mixed with fun and games is really going to change that.

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Comments on “It's All Fun And Games Until… Well… It's Work”

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ChocoTuar says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I will be writing a book here within the next year or so that will clear it up.

Basically, intelligence is comprised of two “separate but equal” lobes. These lobes are Logic and Knowledge.

If you have ever programmed in a computer language you would know that it take no small amount of logic to complete, with a very little amount of knowledge. The reason for that is because you’re doing 100% of the Logic portion for the computer. A computer is 100% Knowledge. If it had no programming to follow it would spout random information endlessly. The programing is meant to immitate the Logic (and there are varying degrees of immitation).

The only way something such as “The Matrix” or “I, Robot” to happen is if we are able to somehow grant Logic to these lifeless scraps of metal. In other words we would have to give them free will. We would have to give them life. There is nothing artificial about life.

Anonymous of course says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ve heard this argument before… about 30 years ago.

It was as unconvincing then as it is now.

Logic is not a substitute for the ability to reason.

Reasoning machines would be the goal of an AI project.

A truly intelligent machine would have the ability to reason,

solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and


I witnessed a machine programmed in LISP determine the

rules to the game of baseball by “watching” the game.

This was in the early 80’s. There are programs that

use genetics to design optimal antenna designs. It’s

just tiny steps, not even baby steps… amoeba steps

perhaps, but they’re relentlessly forward steps.

There are many problems, it will not be easy or happen

quickly, but I see no rational barrier to the development

of intelligent machines. The metaphysical and spiritual

arguments are more applicable to the imponderable

questions. We still won’t know why we are here or who

made God but we will have some really cool machines


ChocoTuar says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Like I said, there are varying levels of immitation.

AI is like the speed of light. You can always get closer to it, but you can never really attain it. There will always be something wrong with it. You just have to decide how wrong you can live with or what it is wrong that you can live with. The best way to immitate Logic is to program every conceivable situation it could ever come across, with actions to accompany them. Of course, this isn’t Logic, as you’re substituting it with Knowledge.

That baseball-learning computer could have been made in a way that gave it an advantage with something like that (while it has no Logic for anything else). Unless you can disprove that, then we can’t assume that it has any form of Logic.

It will take (if AI is even possible, and I doubt it severely) upwards of 10,000 years to get to a reasonable level of immitation.

I could go on, but I don’t have enough information. Firstly, we would need to define Logic, Life, Free Will, Knowledge, Intelligence, and many other very ambiguous terms, which would take years just to hammer out. For example, if we were able to word the defenitions correctly, we could be seen as having already “invented” AI. I’m sure we can agree that we haven’t.

emichan says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The real problem is to determine when is it very very good imitation, and when is it actual intelligence and consciousness. Anyone who has heard of the Turing test will have heard of this problem. Of course, we know our own consciousness, but for all I know, you are not conscious, never have been and never will be. But you imitate consciousness very very well. And so for lack of better knowledge, I must assume you are conscious, and treat you as such. That, of course, will be the point at which AI exists, when we cannot tell whether or not they are conscious.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: Re: Re:

Don’t be silly…

If you page through early photos from companies like

GM, Boeing and IBM you wil find huge rooms filled with

people performing tasks like drafing, filing, calculating…

generally pushing paper around.

The rows of people wearing green celluloid visors or

pounding away at type writers and calculators are gone.

Machines took away their jobs.

Who makes the machines? People do. Fewer people

that the number the machines displace. When I was

one of the people making the machines it didn’t bother

me much. I was freeing people from mundane jobs.

Now I’m not so sure.

AI is not only possible, it’s inevitable… unless humans

kill each other off first.

shane says:


How about this? Take the money that is being put into this game/work idea. Now give it as a divided bonus between the monotonous workers.

Not a raise. A one time or annual bonus. Now make sure to tell them to entertain themselves or pay something off with this bonus. something to make them happy. I figure its a large amount of money going into the game, lisensing (sp) and all. probably money for every time it’s installed, paid updates, computer crashes on programs and all. Just take all the money that was about to go into this and disperse it. Let them buy whatever they need, ipods to listen to while they work, or money for new tires so that they can get to work on time. Either way i think it’s a better idea.

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