Our member Jeremy Turner has been deeply engaged in the Second Life virtual community for many years and have currently designed his own "bot" named Qiezli, as a home-work assignment in his University education.
Second Life is a popular chat-based virtual world. It is a user-generated world because people can create and exhibit their own content (clothes, objects, architecture etc) in this collaborative space. But there is also "robots" in SL which the creators/designers have put in there in the first place. Most of those robots are "chatter-bots" who walk around as humanoid avatars and engage in Eliza-like conversation.
Jeremy explains: In Second Life, any avatars that are not controlled by a human and are autonomous/automatic are called "bots" (short for "robots"). However, since my entity is meant to be some alien abstraction, I do not think the word "bot" is visually appropriate. I prefer the word "agent" since it applies to all artificial intelligences (as well as ourselves but that gets a bit confusing).
Qiezli is a "living" alien creature made out of shifting abstractions and representations. It wears video on its body. It daydreams about ideas in its inventory and occasionally when interacting with someone else, it may show video-portraits on its body.
I want to start creating artificial agents in virtual worlds. Qiezli may become an automated performance artist or perhaps have its own ideas about what it wants to do..that will take more programming though. I have always been interested in Artificial Intelligence. I also wanted to represent the utopian possibilities of cyberspace somehow so I focused on abstract aesthetics rather than a social message, for its content.
Qiezli hovers around in the air and "wears" various abstract video-patterns on its body...it kind of visualizes what it is "imagining" at the moment. When it meets one person, it "reflects" a video-portrait of one avatar (not the same person). When it meets more than one person, it wears a group video-portrait.
Jeremy has recently put up a blog about Qiezli, in a bit of a haste. The reason to hurry with a blog now is that he is submitting a conference paper about Qiezli and documentation was required to be online so Jeremy hastily assembled a blog. Jeremy says that even before he entered academia, he was in the habit of documenting as much as he could on blogs.
Turning Qiezli into an agent was a homework assignment. Jeremy took "Metacreation" last term (by Prof. Philippe Pasquier) and the goal of the course was to create an agent that appeared to exhibit its own sense of "creativity". Jeremy's ambitions are to turn his dissertation ideas towards designing virtual agents like these. He needs approval of his committee first though... But he says: I will find out this summer. Best of luck Jeremy!