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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bots to Enhance Copresence

With all the talk about bots over at New World Notes, first here as a salvo against land barons; then here as a defense for using them; and even here regarding possible positive uses, I thought: "My god we don't have enough info about bots!" 

My personal experience with bots was a transaction between me and another fairly new resident trying to sell me a parcel of land at a VERY generous price, but he couldn't figure out how to sell direct; so, after he listed it and a second before I could buy it, three bots showed up to purchase it with the quickest drawing bot winning the purchase. Felt like something out of Westworld.

I was reading an article called, "Embodiment and copresence in collaborative interfaces" and was reminded of the bot issue in Second Life. In Second Life, we don't have as many interactions with bots as one would in World of Borecraft - um, I mean Warcraft (WOW). Yet, bots with even limited AI have the ability to create copresence, which is the feeling of being with someone. So if one can feel copresence with a bot, one can certainly do so with an avatar, which means VRWorkplace does make sense, when he says "That there's something more "real" about sharing a virtual space with someone than looking at their face on a webcam."

I think using AI laden objects would be a valuable way for business to create a feeling of copresence for their customers or even to create serious games. I've been sharing an idea with others about a sim for people to learn about social issues that would have bots who move the avatar through the various learning activities - similar to receiving quests in WOW. I hope someone tries that approach or if they have already, to send me a SLURL 'cause I'd love to see it. 

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