Ok, here’s an admittedly odd idea for a game. I suppose you could call it that; more of a simulation really. Anyway, here’s how it works. You go to a site, fill out a form, a fairly comprehensive form. Birthdate and general vitals. You answer all kinds of questions on a variety of topics. Things like what time you usually eat lunch, whether you like to go out and eat, or take a walk in the park. If you go out, what kind of food do you like (chinese, mexican)? Maybe you even list places that you frequent. You enter where you work, what your usual hours are, and specific actions you do at work (fix javascript bug, reconfigure hardware, attend a meeting). You rate yourself in a multitude of areas. How social are you? 1-10. How funny are you? 1-10. How aggressive or friendly are you? Maybe how smart and good- looking are you? Obviously questions like these are entirely subjective but try to stay with me. Where do you live, are you married? etc, etc. If there’s a smartphone app, as you go to various places you can add them to your character profile via GPS. You upload a picture of yourself. Any or all of this information could be falsified, but the more accurate it is, the more fun it might be. I realize that this paragraph alone would shut down any potential interest in most people just from a concern for privacy if nothing else. I would most likely include myself in that group, but lets suspend that objection for a moment to get to the interesting part. Other people fill out these same character profiles. Tens of people, maybe hundreds. Who knows, maybe thousands. And that where the fun starts. This information is used to run simulations by having these various “characters” (your profile information) interact in the simpistic form of textual twitter-type activity feeds.

8:57am Alter-Matt talked to Alter-Sonny. 
10:23am Alter-Matt fixed a JS bug. 
11:45am Alter-Matt got hungry after skipping breakfast as usual. 
12:10pm Alter-Matt, Alter-Sonny, and Alter-Dave went to Mongolian Buffet [map link].

Primarily proximity-based but could be phone calls, the system pushes forward the lives of these characters in a simulation of a potentially alternate life. And there would be odds and chances on all kinds of things. Maybe my likeness, Alter-Matt, gets in a car accident and dies. Well that would set off a different chain of events than in the real world. In the simulation, perhaps some of the characters that knew Alter-Matt would grieve (maybe some wouldn’t). Maybe Alter-Matt’s wife would have a funeral. Maybe there’s a safeguard setting so that your character can’t die, or maybe none of them can but the point is the potential for unexpected things to arise. Obviously, there would have to be very large decision-making AI (or randomization with odds based on available options and action history). The system would probably require a great deal of logic involving sequential actions, along with large amounts of statistical analysis and probability calculations. I’m not at all suggesting I could write this application, but how intriguing might it be to read the activity feed of a digital simulation that could, based on precedent and random circumstance (the same aspects that govern much of our real everyday lives), very rightfully actually be you. What should I do for lunch today? I don’t know. What is Alter-Matt doing for lunch today? Check his feed. Oh, he’s going to the mexican place down the street. Good call, Alter-Matt. You could log in regularly to tell the system what you did or are doing, and that information could be used to continually adjust and refine the accuracy of your simulation’s profile. Maybe you could link a feed directly from your Foursquare or Latitude accounts. There would of course be numerous privacy settings. It could be that no one would ever have access to any of the information you supply about your “character’s” personality or common actions, but you could make it to where certain users in the real world can see your character’s activity feed. Perhaps Alter-Matt randomly talks to Alter-Carl in the grocery store. What grocery store are we talking about? The one you noted you shop at in the real world. Why is Alter-Matt there? Because he’s living out his life in the system. But using proximity logic with characters near each other in the system, all of a sudden Alter-Matt and Alter-Carl (who might very well be patterned after a real live person) are now good friends and hanging out, doing things together that they both like to do.

Wednesday, 6:14pm. Alter-Matt and Alter-Carl go to Fry’s Electronics to look at laptops.

I don’t know this guy, and he doesn’t know me, but our simulations know each other. Isn’t that weird? Maybe they share information about each other. You can’t directly control your simulation except through the feeding of data, but you could see from your character’s profile, say for example, how close they are with various other characters based on quality and frequency of interaction. You could also establish friendships between characters who represent friends of yours in real life so that your characters are friends as well. But then perhaps there is a falling out between those friends, or perhaps some become more than friends, but it would all be one big experiment with no real purpose other than to observe and watch what happens. While we may encounter adventure here and there or more specifically, unpredictable randomization of action (some more than others), how much of our lives are similar repetitious actions over and over? Wake up, shower, eat, go to work, come home, play with our kids, go to the store, eat dinner, run, read a book, go to sleep. Is it for the most part really that difficult to predict or at least simulate with mild accuracy? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe that’s irrelevant and the point is emergence. What might a digital clone of me do if it existed? I don’t know, maybe write a blog entry about simulating reality?