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Humanity and Digital Characters in Virtual Worlds : Crossing the Fictional Boundaries.

Alexandre Monnin 1 
1 WIMMICS - Web-Instrumented Man-Machine Interactions, Communities and Semantics
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , Laboratoire I3S - SPARKS - Scalable and Pervasive softwARe and Knowledge Systems
Abstract : From Star Ocean III to the whole. Hack conglomerate, the ontological status of the virtual character (especially Non Playing Characters, NPCs) with which players interact with a yet unseen freedom became a pressing question. Contrary to cinema or literature, where character are reducible to sentences on a book or a few 'dead' images on a screen, AI in video games seems to yield life to the 'little computer people' inside the screen. The narratologists vs. ludologists debate shows new promises as the possibilities to interact grow and the dream that characters begin to act on their own account becomes a reality. But there comes another price to pay, well noticed by the creator of Star Ocean III or .Hack Sign, a disruptive effect felt when the narrative thread weaving human existence - we may call it 'conscience' with Daniel Dennett - reaches NPCs as well. It is our own identity, as the only extant narrative creatures that would become threatened by such a possibility. Hence the question that both the video game and anime series ask in concert: how would we react, on an ethical and political level, to the breathing result of our most cherished wish, namely, that fiction(s) would become (a living) reality?
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 6:11:26 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 4:54:55 PM


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Alexandre Monnin. Humanity and Digital Characters in Virtual Worlds : Crossing the Fictional Boundaries.. Adam W. Ruch & Ewan Kirkland. Posthumanity : Merger & Embodiment, Inter-Disciplinary Press, pp.185-196, 2010. ⟨hal-00636125⟩



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