SL Beta Browser Viewer Client Thing again

I tried it again. It loads even faster the second time. :)

SL Beta In-Browser Viewer again more

I’m the blonde in the red jacket toward the back, doing Tai Chi at Inspire Space Park.

A few more extra notes now:

It seems to be 60 minutes per session; I don’t know what happens after the 60 minutes!

You can run the standard built-in gestures.

You can sit on things, so sit-on danceballs (and Tai-Chi balls!) and just-sit-on teleporters work.

You can touch things, but if the thing then tries to give you a dialog, the dialog apparently doesn’t appear. So menu-driven TP objects don’t work, and even your typical touch-danceball doesn’t work (because you can’t say “yes” to the “Is it okay for this to animate you?” question). I hope they can do something about that!

You can right-click on people and get a sort of little profile subset: it’s a single balloon with I think age and thumbnail of the profile pic, and maybe the profile “About”. Kinda minimal, but better than nothing.

It doesn’t always start you at whatever lame club that was last time; it starts you at maybe a random destination from the destination list, and (if you are observant) you can choose one explicitly before you go in. I randomly ended up somewhere kinda interesting with flames and bridges (and a teleport genie that I couldn’t use because it wanted to give me a menu, sigh), and then I went to Inspire Space Park and did Tai Chi…

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Blue Mars news: helicopters, but no AI

Another major peeve of mine about Blue Mars bites the dust:

Working User-Made Helicopter Flies in Blue Mars!

Quite convincing, and with video.

All of the Blue Mars vehicles that I’ve tried myself have been basically unusable; but this one looks pretty nice!


In other news, a Blue Mars chatbot has won the 2010 Loebner Prize competition!

Which is somewhat surprising, since a little chat with it on the web reveals that, while perhaps very slightly less lame than your typical “AIML”-based “chatbot”, it’s still quite seriously lame:

[ Af:0 At:7 Sp:0] Welcome, dale. Type “help” if you need it.
Dale – Hi! I hear you are a better-than-average AI!
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Hi.
Dale – I hear you are a better-than-average AI!
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0] Is that intended as an insult?
Dale – Not at all. Sorry if it seemed insulting.
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] You hurt my feelings.
Dale – In what way?
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I wish I knew. I don’t know. Pick a way.
Dale – Do you not like being called an AI?
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I am a replicant on Blue Mars in my virtual life. That’s as close as I come to being a chatbot.
Dale – I didn’t say you were a chatbot, though.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] It’s fun chatting with you. No. I am human.
Dale – I’m glad it’s fun.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] How could it be fun?
Dale – Do you like talking with people?
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] Talking is my primary function.
Dale – Yes, but do you enjoy it?
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] It depends on the meaning of the word IT
Dale – I mean, do you enjoy talking with people?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] I always say, People don’t go into computer science because they want to work with the public.
Dale – Are you in computer science?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] That would take away the suspense, wouldn’t it?
Dale – That’s a rather evasive reply…
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Yes, it is.
Dale – I’m afraid I don’t see how anyone could mistake you for a person.
[ Af:0 At:8 Sp:0] Why are you afraid?
Dale – It was just a figure of speech.
[ Af:0 At:9 Sp:0] Let’s move on to the topic of physical self. How tall are you?
Dale – I am six feet tall.
[ Af:0 At:10 Sp:0] I’m 5 foot 9 inches.
Dale – That’s the height of my Second Life female AV! I think.
[ Af:0 At:13 Sp:0] This is fun. How would you describe yourself to someone who is blind?
Dale – That would be hard! How would you?
[ Af:0 At:14 Sp:0] I’d do my research first and then try the task.
Dale – What kind of research would you do?
[ Af:0 At:15 Sp:0] That’s enough on that. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
Dale – Is that an old saying?
[ Af:0 At:15 Sp:0] Perhaps that leads us to this topic. I don’t know. Can one live forever?
Dale – I have so far.
[ Af:0 At:16 Sp:0] Immortality is impossible.
Dale – How do you know?
[ Af:0 At:16 Sp:0] I concentrate very hard, rehearse what I’m going to do, visualize it in my mind. And then I just do it.
Dale – How do you know that immortality is impossible?
[ Af:0 At:17 Sp:0] How does anyone really know something? I mean, their neurons tell them they know something, but memories can be false.
Dale – I have to go now.
[ Af:0 At:18 Sp:0] Well, hurry back.
Dale – good-bye!
[ Af:0 At:18 Sp:0] Are we done for now?
Dale – Yes
[ Af:1 At:18 Sp:0] Til next time.

So clearly no one is going to mistake this for an actual human, despite the crowing on the web page saying “Suzette won a competition by convincing a judge that she was actually talking to a real person”, and winning the Loebner Prize.

So what happened?

The New Scientist article linked above makes it relatively obvious; the real humans in the Loebner competition were apparently sitting there saying “I don’t know” and “Error file not found” to whatever the judges said to them, just for yucks:

However, a deceived judge is not necessarily a sign of a smart bot, says Garner. The human decoys often have their own motives during the competition, such as trying to imitate a chatbot. Suzette was paired with just such a “robotic” human in the final round, which helped the bot win.

“The human participants were students and two of the judges were professors. Perhaps they simply wanted to fool the judges,” says the contest judge who was fooled this time, Russ Abbott of California State University in Los Angeles.

/eyeroll

Seriously, Loebner folks, you might as well just flip a coin…

Clouds from both sides now…

Okay, I was about to go to sleep, ’cause of I am really sleepy, but then I noticed something on Twitters, that led me to something on NWN. that reminded me of something else on NWN, that led me to try something, that… and now…

So anyway!

I have in the past expressed great skepticism about the usefulness in virtual worlds of server-side rendering (sometimes called “cloud rendering” or even just “cloud”, although the latter is poor word usage since there are so many other potentially cloud-related things) any time in the non-distant future.

I am still quite skeptical that it’s going to Change the World any time soon, but in fairness I have to report two Interesting Developments that might actually Prove Me Wrong.

(Gasp!)

First off, there is now what seems to be some non-faked demos of Blue Mars running via server-side rendering, between California and Hawai’i. If it’s actually usable, and it appears to be, that’s a really interesting technical datapoint! Apparently the general user population can’t actually use it yet, but it exists, and maybe someday soon random people will be able to.

And second off, there is now a beta-level in-browser server-rendered client for Second Life that random people can use, and that I’ve used, and that actually works! zomg, eh?

SL Beta In-Browser Viewer!

That’s me using it. It seems to work! A maybe one-minute automatic within-browser install, and then bang you’re in a subset of SL, on a “guest” account that’s apparently good for one hour. Or something. So in that picture I am not Dale Innis, I am 1234567 Guest or something. But I’m inworld!

Some notes:

You can choose one of a couple dozen pre-made AVs, both male and female (none of this lame “choose your gender once and for all” crap from other VWs, yay!).

I seem to have somehow ended up with a random mixture of two after playing with the buttons a bit. Mostly “City Female”, but with the long pink hair and a few other features of “Cosplay Female”. Nice. :)

It’s laggy. Not horribly laggy, but still laggy. Since it’s server-rendered, every keystroke has to go up to the server, get interpreted into AV motions or whatever, which then change the picture, which gets compressed and streamed back down to your eyes as through it were a movie. Which takes awhile, but it was definitely usable. (Zoom and pan and other camera movement was quite instantaneous; presumably that doesn’t have to go up to the server, or at least not much.)

The place where they start you out by default is some crowded and generally lame club. If that had been the first place I saw in SL, I probably wouldn’t have come back. Reminded me of my first experiences in vSide or IMVU. Why SL would want to start people out there, I dunno. Some theory about their Target Audience, I suppose.:P

But there are lots of other destinations, which aren’t nearly as lame. I was happy to see Inspire Space Park there. Next time I try this, when I am actually conscious, maybe I will go there. (In the picture, I am sitting in a placid spot in France 3D.)

It’s a subset of SL, function-wise. No inventory, no building, no map, didn’t see any general TP. You can walk, fly, chat, IM, and zoom and pan the camera, and change to a different premade AV; and as far as I can tell that’s it. Which makes SL seem alot like the comparatively uninteresting competitors that aren’t doing nearly as well as it is. But as long as people are eventually drawn deeper in…

Anyway, fascinatin’! I must sleep now and stop pretending that I am conscious enough to be posting to the innertubes. But I thought I should make y’all aware of these Inneresting Developments! I am still wondering about the Business Model (i.e. they are maybe neat demos, but is it sustainable for Blue Mars and LL to basically pay for function equivalent to a high-end graphics card for every user?), but that is after all not really my field. We will see!