Interesting post; there is a lot of neat territory here that can be explored.
AI can take on vastly differing forms; various level of intelligence, various levels of physical mobility, of digital mobility, etc. How to portray AIs in a game will also be heavily influenced by the setting.
Many works of fiction portray AI differently. Some of my favorite depictions of AI come from A Fire Upon the Deep. This includes a set of transcendent AI that habit farther reaches of space and don't concern themselves with the mortal races. Other genres present AI as viscous robots that infiltrate society, or large computing boxes that dictate orders to malevolent cults. Nowadays AI are becoming increasingly present in our day-to-day lives, with digital assistants like Siri, driverless cars, and drones.
The central question, similar to what Aramax mentioned, is the same as with any character. What are their motives? Do they seek world domination, acceptance, or love? Do they have some alien, otherworldly concept that humans just can't relate to? Are they merely mechanical scripts; no ghost inside the shell? There are a surprising number of deep questions, ethical and otherwise, that can be explored in a campaign. Many of these questions are being explored right now in developing real-world regulations for artificial intelligence.
I like how the post covers several levels of AI ability. It would be neat to see it dive deeper into what specifically an AI would be good at and how to tie this into a game from a design perspective. What does it mean if the malevolent AI can lock all of the doors and dispense nerve gas? How do you even deal with something that can directly enumerate the outcomes of all possible actions and choose the optimal method to destroy you? What happens when you allow sunder attempts to be made against an opponent's sensors? How does battery power come into this? Lots of neat stuff.
I like your post but caution in the specificity of the portrayal. It as about as hard to write on portraying arbitrary NPCs in a game - there are limitless possibilities. I think the post could be improved by dropping the campaign-specific keywords. Go to Comment
This has got me thinking: how does one portray very intelligent beings in a roleplaying campaign? DnD characters with an 18 intelligence are what, 4 standard deviations above the norm, and many monsters exist with even higher intellect. Human players are, unfortunately, just not going to be as smart.
AIs are pretty much nothing but intelligences, and are often portrayed with an abundance of reasoning and computation power. Playing an AI as a player or DM runs into the same problems.
As a player one wants their character to play smart in addition to merely having the magic boost that comes from a high intelligence score. The other core stats do not have the same issue - physical prowess is trivially acted out and charisma can generally be implied. Intelligence, and wisdom to some extent, is a direct extension of the player and is difficult to fake.
As a DM one would like the same thing for their villains. It often happens that the players come up with a sneaky workaround to the challenges you give them. Would the evil Archmage ever have overlooked such a loophole? No! You want the players to respect your intelligent enemies, but having them live up to it can be a challenge.
I suppose a major component of the solution is going to be a two-fold interpretation of "its a game." On the one hand one can take difficult tasks and assume that your entity can solve them without actually solving them as a player - such as automatically beating others in a game of chess or memorizing complicated passwords, and these abilities can be reflected in feats and skill bonuses. The other end is that everyone at the gaming table is going to be "normal," so your lack of super-intelligence isn't going to be glaringly obvious to anyone as long as you give it your best. Plus, you can nudge the character in the right direction and ret-con things as a DM if you really need to.
There was a game once where the players were trying to get into a dragon's lair. In this game dragons were considered highly intelligent. The players didn't want to confront it directly, so they made a hole in the dungeon wall from the outside with stone shape and then passed the party in through the hole by having one part member pass everyone else sitting in a bag of holding into the dungeon. The DM thought this was clever but nevertheless reasoned that the dragon would have though of this ahead of time. The dragon was on the other side of the hole and devoured the bag before they could get out.
I suppose that sums up my conundrum - you have a tradeoff between not being able to perform at the same capacity as the entities you would like to portray such that the game is entertaining, but on the other it is important to not leave the players powerless such that the game is entertaining. Go to Comment
We have a good number of submissions that break down how we should vote, how we should comment, what we should say and what we shouldn't. We can post critique guidelines and how to be better commentors, but there is something that is more important than that.
All the voting and commentary guides in the world don't matter a lick if there is no one commenting, if there is no one voting. Go to Comment
Longspeak, I've been meaning to tell you this but somehow didn't feel the opportunity to. I think part of the reason you were disenchanted with voting could be to do with the new system of voting you were experimenting with: the 5 criteria vote with breakdown attached. Personally, I like to be somewhat consistent in my votes and that's why I put up my own voting practice (well, not my own sub but my own voting scroll attached to Forganthus's sub titled "How I vote") but I'm never one for detailed breakdowns. I mean, if I've got some issue that I want to discuss in details then I just say it. But I don't have a personal thing for a criteria-based vote with detailed breakdown. Reminds me too much of assignment marking in uni and such and just too a 'scientific' approach for me (okay, so I'm not internally consistent given that I was the one so hung on the concept that my votes have to be 'consistent' from day to day). I don't know whether the same applies to you but I thought such an approach sapped too much energy out of you. In contrast, if you were to vote the way that you previously voted which was basically a numeric score plus whatever else you wanted to say about the sub, then voting would require less energy and 'effort'. Go to Comment
I can empathise, I too always want to provide constructive criticism and have a discussion going on but I learnt to go with my heart also with the Strolenati Sunday. What I mean by this is that if I have little to say about a particular sub, I don't force myself to say a lot- what I would be saying in such cases would probably be rubbish anyway. But I also set a bottomline of not just voting (okay there were past incidences of me doing so) but now at the bare minimum I would put in "what a score of xx said" (a practice I took from some other Strolenati, Cheka Man I think but not sure).
Anyway, back to this sub at hand, I think #2 from Scras is what we should be keeping in mind. If a particular sub doesn't chime with us enough that we can really put in constructive criticims, we shouldn't be stressed out all over it and then refrain from voting and commenting on it. To me, this somehow feels a little like we as commenter is so stressed out over the commenting over a particular sub that we are pulling our hairs out but we force a calm down on ourselves by running away. But such behaviour would be quite ridiculous if you look it from the common logic angle i.e shouldn't the author be more stressed than us over that? And if everyone engages in such behaviour, then we get little comments (which we do quite often at the Citadel). I just think (now that I'm thinking objectively) that the culprit of such behaviour- this high expectation we place on ourselves as a commenter, is sometimes a little excessive and we should from time to time cull it back to a more reasonable level.
Anyway, I'm rambling. I say comment and comment to the best possible length and depth that you can and learn to live with no more than that. Go to Comment
You're right. But I do think HOW matters as much as whether you participate or not. I have been very bad about voting because I find votes alone to be worthless. I don't want to receive only a vote, so I won't leave only a vote. But I have lacked the time to really offer useful commentary of my own. Maybe it's time to change that line of thought. Go to Comment
Moon, you're right and you're wrong. I'm not into the voting, but the 5-criteria didn't cause that. The 5-criteria was my attempt to *correct* that. I really don't like just leaving a vote. Feedback, comments, some form of discussion, sharing of ideas. That's what I want to see. But I was having trouble finding constructive feedback on many submissions. The result? Many subs read, very few votes, me not practicing what I preach. So the 5-criteria was a way of trying to find things to say, so that I could then vote.
Of course, not everyone wants the same sort of feedback, which I wasn't really taking into account. That's part - but only part - of why I haven't voted in a while. The main reasons though have no relevance here. Go to Comment