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Comment: Re:...hmm interesting... (Score 1) 519

by simon0411 (#35701654) Attached to: Pirated Android App Shames Freeloaders

I'm guessing this would fall under the "unclean hands" doctrine. Whatever arises from the malicious software is due to the user acting unethically in the first place, i.e. downloading pirated software. Since it's not an official product, the company makes no guarantees about its performance.

Writing malicious software that the user chooses to install, versus copyright infringement... hmmm, I wonder which offense carries greater penalties in court?

Comment: Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (Score 1) 137

by simon0411 (#35444842) Attached to: How Do People Respond To Being Touched By a Robot?

>Building an AI that is anything more than an imitation of life

I've always thought of life as the desire and ability to self-propogate, while intelligence as the level of complexity with which something can interact and modify the environment around it. So intelligence isn't binary; how self-aware is a fruit fly? If a robot can independently affect its world to a specific purpose with sufficient complexity, without additional intervention, isn't that some level of intelligence, regardless of how it received its original directives?

With all of the constant advances in technology and research in biology, I'm starting to feel more and more that terms like awareness and intelligence will one day become arbitrary.

Comment: Re:Human touch is seen as empathetic (Score 1) 137

by simon0411 (#35444596) Attached to: How Do People Respond To Being Touched By a Robot?

For a robot AI to be "fake," it must have an ulterior motive for its actions. That seems like higher order intelligence to me.

As wondrous as human emotion is, do we really need to mystify it, as if it were something without connection to the physical world, unattainable by anything without a "god-given soul?" We already know we can "reprogram" personalities by removing certain parts of the brain. Are our DNA not purpose-driven programs?

I recall a Japanese comic I read a while ago called Chobits, about people falling in love with androids, in which one of the characters made the Turing-esque observation that the machines can love because of the love people invest in them. I suppose intelligent robots will always be fake to you, but probably not to others.

Comment: Re:Great book (Score 1) 583

by simon0411 (#35268022) Attached to: LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective

Sigh... people are so dogmatic about copyright here on Slashdot, I'll pass on regurgitating arguments about why it is needed, why art is different from other forms of labor, etc. I will, however, submit an alternative to completely banishing it altogether.

The definition to fair use should be expanded. More specifically, a new category of derivative work should be defined: non-transliterated works of significant reinterpretation/artistic value created within the lifetime of the original copyright. Works such as this, The Wind Done Gone, or your average Kirk/Spock slash fiction ought not be hampered, because they don't impinge on the ability of the original to make a profit, and it's a separate issue from false attribution (the two main things copyright is meant to protect). It's often the reverse; the majority of the Japanese pop media allow and may even encourage derivative fan works, under a specific environment, because such works (even pornographic ones) generate more interest in the original.

One proviso would be that the fan creator may not hold copyright over any individual part, only the whole, and that s/he relinquish the ability to make claims against the original creator (in case "official" derivative work shares similarities with the fan work, coincidence or not). It would almost be like a limited GPL... the "changes" one makes has to be open sourced.

Comment: Re:Donations from pirates? Arr. (Score 1) 140

by simon0411 (#35222960) Attached to: R-Rating Sunk <em>BioShock</em> Movie Plans

I guess your use of the word "pirate" is making me prejudiced a bit. I mean, is there really a serious contingent among those who believe everything should be free and are too cheap to fork over 20 bucks for a DVD, that would readily give away $100 each to get a movie made, sight unseen? If so, *why?*

I'm still waiting for another big musician to try NIN or Radiohead's patronage-based business models. Doesn't seem to be happening...

Comment: Re:Donations from pirates? Arr. (Score 1) 140

by simon0411 (#35222668) Attached to: R-Rating Sunk <em>BioShock</em> Movie Plans

Yes, I am familiar with Kickstarter, having made a couple contributions to small self-publishing projects (being in a barely-legit publishing enterprise myself, I have sympathy for that sort of thing). It's a great way to connect a few people with very specialized interests, but the feasibility of the idea isn't really what I was getting at directly (it's obviously more difficult to collect $50M). The thing is, I don't see much difference between trying to make a big-budget movie proposal that would get green-lit from a movie studio, or a committee of investors, or a large number of people on the internet. While the motivations may be different, one has to make artistic concessions in all of these cases. Amortization of costs/risks is already at the heart of the modern entertainment industry; instead of a director funding his own movie, he's getting backing from a company, i.e. a plurality with a common goal. Is it really that different from seeking donations, other than dealing with more people? To me, more people equates to greater dilution of ideas.

We can already observe how such democracy affects art. People are voting with their money at the box office, at the store... and people chose Transformers 2 and Justin Bieber. As individuals, we all want better movies and music. As people, we're really bad at picking them.

Comment: Re:Donations from pirates? Arr. (Score 1) 140

by simon0411 (#35219078) Attached to: R-Rating Sunk <em>BioShock</em> Movie Plans

Oh, and I hope I'm not coming across as dismissive of your idea; it would be great if it worked. It's just not likely to work across the board, and it probably would succumb to the same problems of the big studios/Hollywood: this sort of "democracy" is often not conducive to art. Big movies are group efforts, and they require big financial backing, which is also a group effort. I can't foresee how individual contributors would behave any different from movie studio shareholders.

Instead, what is needed is a financially independent movie studio run by someone with vision. Which typically isn't compatible with big movies.

Comment: Re:Donations from pirates? Arr. (Score 2) 140

by simon0411 (#35219018) Attached to: R-Rating Sunk <em>BioShock</em> Movie Plans

Sure, if you could get 3~5 million other like-minded people to fork over 10 bucks, sight unseen, with no guarantee that the movie would be any good, or even completed within a couple year's time. ($50M production cost seems like a good ballpark for a movie of this type.) And you'd pretty much have to put up this money all at once. Big movies can't be made piecemeal, assembling actors and technicians, negotiating with unions, renting out sets... these are complicated tasks.

Maybe you'd have an easier time finding fewer people willing to contribute more money upfront. Maybe some of them want contracts stipulating when the movie must be delivered. Maybe you'd get more donations if you promise that, should the movie make a profit somehow, that it would be shared amongst everyone. Perhaps some of the investors may feel that the movie would have a better chance of returning a profit if it had a marketing budget, and reach the widest number of viewers possible.

Hello, new corporate movie studio.

Comment: Re:Am I alone? (Score 1) 287

by simon0411 (#35195770) Attached to: The Most Violent Video Games of All Time

Edification: Obscenity =/= pornography. Obscenity actually *is* illegal, and , to borrow your words, *taken completely off the market, taking the choice out of your hands*. And what is legally obscene is completely arbitrary. This is a run-around of the First Amendment, and I'm completely against it.

Obscenity standards for kids are lower, hence something can be both legal for adults and illegal to distribute to kids. But this has also historically been applied only to sexually explicit material. Thus, labeling games as legally obscene for children based solely on violent content is completely uncharted waters, and a burden which no other medium faces. Hence, this is *not* a kind of censorship that is everywhere.

Comment: Re:Remember the HL2 leak? (Score 2) 203

by simon0411 (#35186958) Attached to: <em>Crysis 2</em> Leaked Over a Month Before Launch

>The complete liberalization of information exchanges will have such far reaching effects in our society that worrying about games is like pondering the future sales of hair wigs on the brink of finding a cancer cure.

But, without financial incentives, much of that "information" would not be shared or created in the first place. Even assuming an overwhelming amount of altruism - a privilege of those with excess resources - consider that becoming really good at something, particularly in the fields of art and science, involves a huge initial investment of time and devotion before one is able to produce something of substantial value. This isn't just games, but scientific research, art... any activity beyond immediate concerns of survival, i.e. putting food on the table or keeping a roof over one's head. Money is an abstraction of labor, work accumulated. Even with "free" models, somewhere along the line, someone has to pay.

Now, whether the best way to recoup that investment is through traditional methods or through free sharing is open to debate, but I imagine the right answer is unique to each individual, and it is the individual's right to determine the best course for himself.

Comment: So the gist of it is... (Score 1) 220

by simon0411 (#35065550) Attached to: Are Gamers Safer Drivers?

...that games improve motor coordination/reaction time, but may also increase risky behavior/undue confidence in one's driving skills? Seems to me that second part is more a personality fault that is present in most young drivers.

The only times a game has ever affected my driving were when I decided to read the manual on the way home.

Comment: Re:Generally speaking, all Mario Jump & Runs.. (Score 3, Interesting) 95

by simon0411 (#34736548) Attached to: <em>Super Mario Bros. 3</em> Level Design Lessons

Love the speed run demos they included in New Super Mario Bros., which really illustrate your point. Sure, one could play through every stage in a straight forward fashion, or one could play through without losing star power the entire stage, while getting a dozen extra lives with a single turtle shell, or without ever touching the ground. In the hands of a creative player, the depth of the classic Mario game play truly shines.

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