Why gold-farming bots might evolve into the first true AI

Something a bit different today, but of great interest to those of us who are already kinda living in a posthuman virtual space, aka an MMO – science fiction author Charles Stross has a fascinating essay up on communication, the growth of the Internet, and the unlikely places that a truly post-human artificial intelligence might come from…

We have one faction that is attempting to write software that can generate messages that can pass a Turing test, and another faction that is attempting to write software that can administer an ad-hoc Turing test. Each faction has a strong incentive to beat the other. This is the classic pattern of an evolutionary predator/prey arms race: and so I deduce that if symbol-handling, linguistic artificial intelligence is possible at all, we are on course for a very odd destination indeed — the Spamularity, in which those curious lumps of communicating meat give rise to a meta-sphere of discourse dominated by parasitic viral payloads pretending to be meat …

But it’s not just spam, of course. As Monday’s link shows, there’s another rapidly-evolving arms race happening exclusively in MMOs – the arms race between bots like WoW Glider, which are deliberately engineered to mimic human behaviour, and the developers who wish to ban them. And even more than in the case of spam, there’s a strong incentive for the predator, the bot, to evolve to be able to pass a Turing test – in other words, to be able to pass for human.

What do you think? Will ever-more-intelligent WoW bots, or indeed gold spam, trigger the Singularity, and the subjugation of humanity by vast and alien intellects? And for that matter, just how much AI would you need to be able to pass the LFD Turing Test? “Lols I cnat sap must be bug lols”?

Quote taken directly from Charles Stross’s post.

Find Charles Stross’s blog here.