New World Notes: Philip Rosedale Attempting to Create Sentient Artificial Intelligence That Thinks and Dreams in Second Life!
Recently, a Second Life veteran named Hikaru Yamamoto told me about the plans she'd heard Philip Rosedale was cooking up for his new company, LoveMachine. He wasn't just building a public version of Linden Lab's employee rating system. Turns out that was just one project. A somewhat more ambitious goal, she told me, was, well, creating a sentient artificial intelligence which existed in a virtual world.
"He wants it to live inside Second Life," as she put it to me. "It will think and dream and everything." Indeed, the company's website now lists as one of its three projects, "The Brain. Can 10,000 computers become a person?"
Philip Rosedale and Ryan Downe at Hotel Nikko
This seemed somewhat unbelievable (but only just), so I checked with Philip himself.
"Yeah," Philip Rosedale told me, "that's the general direction we're going... but I'm not wanting to talk about it until we start making some progress."
That Philip plans to revolutionize AI technology -- in effect, achieving singularity in a virtual world -- isn't that surprising, because he said as much when I talked with him for The Making of Second Life:
"It'll be possible for constructs that we build in Second Life and things like it in a simulated space to actually think," he told me in 2007. "It's only a decade away, the simulation engines." I just didn't imagine he'd essentially take the helm on that project himself.
But as the man suggested, progress on that project is still in early stages. However, due to the company's innovative structure, pretty much anyone with the willingness and the talent can get involved: as the homepage explains, people can apply to take on tasks from an open worklist, and discuss them in a shared chat system.