Techno philosopher claims AI game characters have feelings and should have rights, wait what?

Skyrim character
Did you ever stop and consider whether that random bystander was inside? Grand Theft Auto V did you have a family before you beat him up? Or what about the many guards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, who have all taken a dart to their knees – did you ask any of them if they needed help? Of course not, because NPCs are not real living beings with emotions and consciousness. Not yet, anyway, but as AI continues to grow, it could deliver some interesting scenarios in games and in the metaverse.
So suggests David Chalmers, a technophilosopher professor at New York University who had an interesting conversation about AI with PC gamer† AI is always a hot topic these days, but even more so after a Google engineer was put on paid administrative leave for, he says, raising concerns about AI ethics within the company.
In case you missed that whole thing, engineer Blake Lemoine has come to the conclusion that Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications, or LaMDA, is sensitive and has a soul. His argument is based on several chats he had with LaMDA, in which the… AI produced responses that resembled self-reflection, a desire to improve, and even emotions.

AI is definitely getting better at creating the illusion of feeling and has come a long way since the days of Dr. Sbaitso, for those of you old and geeky enough to remember the AI ​​speech synthesis program Creative Labs released with its Sound Blaster card in the early 1990s. But can AI NPCs achieve real consciousness one day? That’s one of the questions PCG presented to Chalmers.

“Would they be conscious? My opinion is yes,” Chalmers said. “I think their lives are real and they deserve rights. I think every sentient being deserves rights, or what philosophers call moral status. Their lives matter.”

That is an interesting and certainly controversial position. There is also an inherent conundrum that comes with this. If AI improvements lead to sentient NPCs, is it even ethical to make them in games? Think of all the horrible things we do to NPCs in games that we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) do to real people. And then there are repercussions if, as Chalmers suggests, NPCs deserve rights.

“If you simulate a human brain in silicon, you get a sentient being like us. So to me that suggests that these beings deserve rights,” Chalmers says. “That’s true whether they’re inside or outside the metaverse…there will be plenty of AI systems living in the metaverse with humans.”

The metaverse makes the situation even murkier because even if you’re not logged in and not participating, NPCs will still hang out and do whatever they do. You know, a bit like the movie free man

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