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D._Alex comments on High Challenge - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 December 2008 12:51AM

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Comment author: D._Alex 19 December 2008 04:56:15AM 13 points [-]

On the subject of computer games (an underrated area for the study of psychology, economy and even AI, IMO):

During the last 3 years, I have spent just over 1000 hours playing World of Warcraft. Why did I choose to spend (some, incl my wife, might say waste) my time on this? I am fairly wealthy and quite fit - just about any fun activity is open to me. So why do I like WoW? And why 10 million people around the world do the same?

Some important reasons why the game is so pleasurable seem to be:

a) the ultimate goals are pretty clear (so unlike real life...)

b) the "measures of progress" are likewise clear - and there is only one way to go, namely "up"! (again, so unlike real life, apart from possibly "youth" - is that what makes "youth" so good?)

c) the rewards are clear - and are earned so progressively that playing the game seems akin to wireheading (the trickle of XPs, "gold" and new items continuously stimulates some pleasure centre or other).

(Good play involves fairly sophisticated analysis, strategy and tactics, which maintains intetrest... but is beside the point I want to make. The game is attractive to good and poor players.)

With this on the table, I would like to offer the following for comments:

1) Can the 3 items above (clarity of goals, clear measures of achievement, progressive rewards) be mapped onto real life in a way that makes life more, um, fun? There are some mechanisms like that already - money most clearly, yet pursuit of money as a goal is not considered that worthwhile.

2) this is a bit out of left field, but: Is a setting like World of Warcraft a good medium for development of AI? Clear goals, clear measures of progress, sufficient complexity to provide an indication of when important insights are achieved, and a safe environment (in the sense that the path to paperclip AI seems unlikely)...?

(For Robin Hanson: have you heard about the economic studies carried out in WoW setting?)

OK, duty calls... I have more to say on this when time permits.

D. Alex

Comment author: Turgurth 08 September 2013 06:04:26AM 1 point [-]

Well, does time permit?

Comment author: Ksenia_Sazonova 07 August 2016 07:06:34AM 1 point [-]

The life is entertaining too. If you want to gamify it, use https://habitica.com you'll set your goals, see your progress and achieve the rewards. What else is there to want to?