Current Chapter Discussion: HP V8C4

posted in: Blog, Chapter Discussion | 2

I would definitely say that the highlight of this chapter was the real life duel of Prince vs. Cold Fox. As the chapter progressed Xiao Lan became more and more like Prince. Yang Ming also began acting like his online character personality. I think this chapter represents a shift in the story. Before this chapter, the characters’ online personas and their real life personas were kept separate. I think Xiao Lan’s transformation also represents a general fusion for all the characters. Their real life selves are merging with their game selves. So, the question is: “Which version is the real self?”

Philosophers and psychologists have been debating the about the concept of “self” for years. They still haven’t reached an answer. So for now, I just want to focus on Xiao Lan and the other characters.

  • Which is Xiao Lan’s “real” self? Her online persona or real life self? And the other characters?
  • Do the dictator of life and the other intelligent NPC’s have a “self”?
  • If in the future we develop AI’s like Kenshin and SunShine, would they face identity problems?
  • This chapter also argued the issue of the immortality. What might that mean for Fairsky and SunShine if Fairsky is the only one that will age?
  • And no spoilers please.

2 Responses

  1. Both selves are true and real because they both exist in the same mind. It’s just another aspect of it. Just another way of expressing itself. It’s not multiple personalities, but more like multiple whims and reactions.

    It’s basic sociology. In certain situations people will respond in certain ways. Sometimes because it’s expected of them, sometimes because they don’t want to be involved, such s when there’s a general ‘someone else will take heed’ mentality when seeing beggars on the street most people will walk right by. Stopping and taking notice is a reaction that is also expected, in reverse, if that frame of mind is cultivated in the individual. It depends on how a person thinks and responds to a crowd of either known or unknown sources. People will react the way it is expected of them in group situations based on how they’ve cultivated their personalities around those people.

    With groups of people in a game situation, being with them in real life means they are more likely to behave in the familiar manner, but in a combination of real life and game life, adopting the mannerisms of the game world. This can be seen in people who take their Dungeons and Dragons/MMORPG games seriously. It’s not LARPing (Life Action Role-Play which in this case the video game world definitely counts as such) but it’s an extension of how people feel when they’ve been interacting in this way for so long. It’s a common thing, like how people will act differently at Work or at School rather than at Home, and when family members are near in those places they tend to relax a bit and act the way they do at home, during which times those at school or work might notice a subtle difference. It’s based on the relationships a person has built with other human beings. Humans are very social and react to each other strongly because of that.

    I think the intelligent NPCs do have a self. If you can be sentient then of course you know of your self. The only ones in game that have been mentioned as being intelligent are the ones that were stated to have been trapped in the game by Long Dian. (I believe it was Lolidragon that mentioned this to Prince at one point? I forget when, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers, sorry.) Problem is Kenshin and Sunshine were human to start with, I remember reading that they were beta testers whom had been trapped in the game. So yes, they were human and yes they became digital entities. So yes they have a self. They’re like the ghosts in the machine.

    Fairsky is the only one that will age in the real world. It’s conceivable Sunshine could stay with her for a long time in game. In the game word she will always be her young avatar. (I believe this is shown because even though they have hygiene issues, they do not have to cut their hair!) I don’t think that would be a problem for a long time for them, since at that time it was stated that humans could live around 200 years (In this last chapter even, I think). She could have around 170 possible years or more (unless the average is actually 200 rather than the limit) before Sunshine might lose her. Even then she could do what he did and become a digital entity, at great risk, but after so long she’d probably be willing to try it to stay with him. In that way Long Dian might have invented a way of making an eternal digital life, if the files and data could just be preserved properly and maintained in the machines. From this last chapter it sounds like that’s what he’s trying to do.

    On this last chapter’s fight between Prince and Cold Fox, I adored how Prince was oblivious about the gear she was supposed to be learning to use. It’s a humorous situation that Cold Fox gave her all day to try and come up with the conclusion that the gear enhances her abilities, so she should use it to regain what she had in the game world, how his irritation just grew but he never outright said the obvious. I think he was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, then was disappointed not just in her failure to realize but in his failure as an instructor to immediately correct the problem.

  2. I believe Xiao Lan’s online persona is her real self. As established at the beginning of this series, Xiao Lan feels the expectations of the real world do not necessarily line up to who she is on the inside. The online persona has no “strings” attached to her behaviour-no gender roles, parental expectations, manners, and so forth. The anonymity the game gives affords her the ability to be whatever she wants, whenever she wants-something that’s not possible in real life.

    To me, NPCs(or robots, or computers) have a “self” when they can make their own decisions and can self-examine themselves to the philosophy of “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes. Although machines/computers can to a degree examine themselves for defects, they have yet to be able to consciously examine their own programming/problems in a way that is not programmed or previously dictated. To put it in a Descartes sort of way, they do not yet think. Creating AIs like Kenshin and Sunshine would therefore eventually create a problem; although Descartes defined this line by “thinking”, where is the line between “following programmed thinking” and true independent thought? It could be argued that independent thought was programmed into a machine.

    Sunshine will never age, and as such much of the pain associated with ageing will never really touch him. At most, he will be sad that Fairsky is ageing, but the things that come with ageing-physical problems, senility, and even death-he won’t really be able to relate to them as Fairsky will with other people. The most that Sunshine can relate is be sad that such problems associated with ageing are occurring at all. Also, because he is immortal, there will come a point where his relationship with Fairsky will fade in importance and significance. What is ~200 years compared to the millions of years Sunshine could possibly live? It would be the equivalent of losing a beloved pet hamster to us as humans.

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