On drinking good whisky and discussing the self-awareness of future non-player characters…

Before I came here, to the Matrix construct program in beige that is Qatar, I was torn in a hundred directions trying to figure out what I meant, and what my life meant. I have not found some magical answer, as may seem obvious from my previous posts, but what I have found is a sense of purpose – I can build stories.

Ultimately, in eras of reason or eras of supreme emotion and irrationality like our current age in the US, the most effective ways to change the world around you is to draw people into stories. The story I am currently working on is about a priest in a small temple in Alp-like mountains who deciphers some ancient books and is drawn to run off after a feature on a map. Only later does he discover that he is not, in fact, “real” but rather a non-player character in a future massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

The idea is probably not new – there have even been more than one anime that approaches the idea of being trapped in a virtual world where existence is tied to playing a “game” and having to survive within a constructed environment. But the focus in those works has been on the real humans enmeshed in constructed realities, rather than considering what could happen if simulations approach a certain high level of detail. What is the difference between a human, in “meatspace” attempting to find meaning in their life while following deterministic decision points based on their position in society by birth and upbringing and a software entity that has a backstory, and yet has a quest path that can be fulfilled, ignored, or sent off in a different at particular interaction points? If such an entity were self-aware, how would he feel?

Tonight may not have been an unqualified success overall, but I’ve definitely found a happy medium of talking with friends, writing, thinking, and generally making the most of my time. Even just going to the gym, doing laundry, and having intelligent conversations can be a victory.


Author: Fravashi

Just a man, writing like any other guy.

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