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Holodeck Programming Notes: Randomization of Cultural Elements

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Imagine entering a parallel version of Earth where Elvis was never born? Or country music never gained a following.
Or the old black and white King Kong, or modern day Grease, Back to the Future or Star Wars were never made…

Virtual Reality, to me, is not just a sexual experience or a game experience. It’s at it’s core – an immersive cultural experience.

In simulating these experiences, there’s more than one way to ‘simulate’.
At face value, there’s the obvious – what I will call shallow experiences (which I will ABSOLUTELY indulge in):
For instance, What if I had Jessica Biel naked in my room right now? Take me to a planet where the sand is blue and the water was red and it was orbiting three stars ? Or put me in London, circa 1950.
These ‘shallow’ reflections of both fact and fiction provide for wonderful story telling. There’s NO reason the systems involved have to ‘fill in the historical gaps’ that preceded the simulation.
And there’s absolutely no reason to make the situation and circumstance anything but what it is: strictly fiction.
Much like a Hollywood movie, right?
However. There’s an opportunity to actually shape culture and life, understanding that it’s this holodeck can ALSO be used to develop more than ‘instant gratification’ events.
Take historical analysis and simple entertainment in alternate realities as an example..

With this, I envision there being two primary ways to make simulations ‘historically accurate’ – for critical analysis – and for developing and shaping new culture, new cultural material, and new physical worlds.

Both primary ways ‘engaged’ by the user of the holodeck, incept by ‘what if’ and/or ‘how’ related questions.
  1. A simple for instance: “What if” Elvis was never born?

    “Computer, please simulate how life would look on Earth in the year 2015…”

    Followed by “Take me there”

  2. “WHAT if all humans were walking around nude and there were no laws concerning sex and nudity”

    “Computer. Please find the likeliest event which would have created this condition”

    Followed by a “Take me there”

    And then followed by a ‘no, this one sucks because it’s too mean, try another possibility”

One of what I consider to be the most important factors of immersion in alternate realities is the shaping and development of culture.That is – is it possible to add and subtract things to a base culture that evolves it’s culture in ways that shape new artists and creatively based content?In other words, who’s the Michael Jackson in an alternate reality where Michael Jackson never got into singing? What are the possibilities?
Or let’s say Superman was never introduced as a comic book. How would that have shaped history afterwards?Or let’s just say World War 1 and 2 NEVER happened. Historically , what would have changed afterwards to lead to now?WOuld there be new and different music?Undoubtedly.

There’s some amazing premade tools to assist with the development of ‘music’ and culture in alternate realities, here’s one:

It’s a random music generator, which creates entire albums, with a playlist of songs, complete with album cover, of randomly generated music and songs.

Here’s the link: http://www.fakemusicgenerator.com/

Now in reviewing this.
It is absolutely clear it’s computer generated, even the artwork.

But there’s other far more sophisticated and flexible models for music generation, here’s a few web sites:

Abundant Music (lots of bells and whistles to adjust in this)
Now these algorithms are rudimentary in nature, and the music produced certainly isn’t going to be winning any awards any time soon.
It’s also devoid of vocals, which arguably has made music that much more influential.
But to me – to have a successful ‘holodeck’ – it is crucial to do this as a two step process.
The first step is – to make simulations that are ‘shallow copies’ of pre existing ideas. Converting movies and existing people and places over is a clear first step.
But longer term – for sustainable purposes – the evolution of the holodeck for scientific and explorative purposes – for me a VERY exciting time period – is all too clear.
The evolution of procedurally based algorhythns – and development and fostering the development of life within these simulations.

Will naturally evolve to see life evolve in what can only be surmised as very unpredictable ways.

For me. Saying I want to go check out a naked universe or a have Katy Perry as my girlfriend is fun, dont get me wrong.

But once I have them along for the ride. In a literal and figurative sense. I think the real fun starts to happen in co-creating – designing ‘what if’ scenarios’.

With and without algorithms and automation being involved!

We’ll see. But for expansionary sake. Having the algorithms involved certainly simplifies things. But it’s a process that may not have an end.

The real question I have is:
How – and what – causes cultural evolution in a simulation?

Is it competition?

Or a simple desire to keep ourselves entertained?And the real question is:

Am I entertaining thoughts of what could be, or simply admiring that which is and how it was shaped and molded?

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