collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

If we draw a line for human innovations, we can identify many points on it that show how these innovations move towards becoming more compact(1): In 1665, Robert Hooke published the book Micrographia; The first major work on microscopy. In 1839, the Royal Microscopical Society was founded. Georg Cantor's "set theory"that is, the discovery of the infinite distance between 1 and 0was published in 1874. The electron was discovered in 1897; Bohr's model was announced in 1913; And the era of atomic energy began in the 30s of the 20th century. Then we saw Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, and his thesis on "bits" in 1948; after the invention of the microchip in 1958; After the occurrence of the blue marble in 1972 [image taken from space]; Internet, 1969; The prevalence of virtual networks, early 2000.

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

If we draw a line for human innovations, we can identify many points on it that show how these innovations move towards becoming more compact(1): In 1665, Robert Hooke published the book Micrographia; The first major work on microscopy. In 1839, the Royal Microscopical Society was founded. Georg Cantor's "set theory"that is, the discovery of the infinite distance between 1 and 0was published in 1874. The electron was discovered in 1897; Bohr's model was announced in 1913; And the era of atomic energy began in the 30s of the 20th century. Then we saw Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, and his thesis on "bits" in 1948; after the invention of the microchip in 1958; After the occurrence of the blue marble in 1972 [image taken from space]; Internet, 1969; The prevalence of virtual networks, early 2000.

The philosopher Vilm Flusser, in the article "Squeezing", considers the desire to discover new worlds in extremely small things to be related to a kind of hatred of the body, a kind of contempt for to physical dimensions, which, in his opinion, "indicates a kind of regressive and distancing process". It was a sign that we are increasingly "losing our strength," reducing the importance of physical and physical things "to the level of a toy," and "constantly calculating and counting trivial things to produce information." In his view, this is the birth of a disintegrated future where we are separated from our bodies and Earth, and sit isolated in our cells, like the Matrix, communicating as a superorganisma unique kind of ant colony.

Although we haven't reached this point yet, many of us have undoubtedly played a toy version of ourselves in toy versions of reality the fascinating worlds of games like Civilization and SimCity and others. RPG titles made with them in mind. They simulate the complexities of the world and condense it into small, virtual worlds tools for making, which allow players to build, destroy, and change the course of history, for example a small town or small families in small houses.

"Squeezing" the real world into these small, non-physical things has a certain charm; Satisfying the desire for power and omnipotence without dealing with its problems. As a teenager, it was because of this feeling of powerlessness that I played games like Civilization, City Simulator and The Sims. I spent so much time on The Sims, especially late at night, that I dreamed that the little citizens of Pleasantview would emerge from my laptop like a colony of angry ants to take revenge on me, their ruler, for neglecting them so much. Recently I was playing a mobile game called "Rise of Cultures" which was a bad copy of Civilization. There I would command pocket-sized workers and warriors to farm and fight to expand my empire. Or another game, RollerCoaster Tycoon, a more condensed version of its 1999 debut, where I had to manage my own park. When I wasn't busy repainting roads or hiring new janitors, I especially enjoyed watching the teenagers ride the little toys and never get bored.

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

Games that put us in the role of gods tell us to look at human society as if you were going to examine an ant colony. In playing these games, we repeat the systems that have failed us before, in simplified and compressed forms. The repetition of these miniature-scale systems reinforces the belief that they are natural. They pretend that systems with infinite complexity and incalculable possibilities, which are characteristic of human societies, can be transformed into a simple and recognizable system for the individual.

The issue is not only about satisfying the desire to control. The mechanisms crammed into something so smallthe technical methods that went into making something like this and the details that went into itas well as the play with time, evoke a sense of wonder. In the book "On Thirst", Susan Stewart says that small or miniature spaces are spaces separated from "lived history": reducing the dimensions of our understanding of the outside world is disordered, takes one to "Heperot" and distances one from the real community. This leads Stewart to call it "confidential times"that is, excessive introspection. When we're immersed in something so "compressed" it's not easy to see things outside of this framework.

In the same way, players spend hours in games that put us in the role of God. Sometimes they are called "time lapses" because they are addictive. Basically at the same time It moves faster in such games. Years go by with a twist in Civilization or City Simulator. A day in The Sims is equal to 24 minutes in the real world. Also, you have to spend a lot of time to make the decisions that the game requires, and it evokes the feeling that they must be taken care of. Stepping into the position of God in such titles is like being entrusted with a responsibility: the empire will not prosper without my supervision; If I don't inspect my playground equipment, it will rust and rot; The roads of my city are overcrowded and the citizens complain about the roadblocks if I don't give enough metal to my companies to upgrade the roads. When I was paying attention to the report cards, marriage lives, wishes and health of the Sims citizens, I remembered that I had to do the same in the real world. Now Laszlo won't stop playing with it, it's like it's glued to the hallway, and he won't stop playing even with an empty stomach and a full bladder. And then the whole family expresses concern about Laszlo's deteriorating condition, frantically waving at me to do something because they all want to go to the bathroom but can't because of the door that Laszlo occupies. In the next few minutes, the whole family perishes. Fortunately, I can log out and back in without saving the game before this happens. This time goes back to when Laszlo is still healthy. But unlike Alice coming out of the rabbit hole or Rick and Morty from the miniverse, my time in the real world has been lost while I have done nothing in particular [neither in the game nor in reality].

Games where the player They put it in the role of God - which is made with the intention of being compact and simple - they place such a failure as the ego of being a master. Sid Meier, the creator of the Civilization series, wrote in his memoirs in 2020 that in such games, unlike other genres, the goal is not to win the fight with the last giant, but to "master one's own limitations." For Sid Meier, and for Sims creator Will Wright, the meaning of the game is nothing more than the very essence of "decision": making such decisions in order to solve something, so that the cycle of decisions continues forever. These decisions don't just determine the course of the game, but are an expression of the player's personality in the real world. When he plays a game that puts you in the role of God, you're not just playing the game, you're playing yourself.

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

Squeezing the real world into these small, non-physical things has a special charm; Satisfying the desire for power and omnipotence without dealing with its problems. It's not just about satisfying the desire to control. The mechanisms crammed into something so smallthe technical methods that went into making something like this and the details that went into itas well as the play with time, inspire a sense of wonder.

Artist Mike Kelly ( Mike Kelley whose miniature works such as Educational Complex and Kandors discuss cultural memory and critique technological utopias says that the viewer becomes immersed in the [miniature] objects and in the process projects his own mental processes onto them. They separate themselves from reality." Such a collapse can perhaps be extended to the time-consuming and addictive nature of games that put us in the role of God and induce a kind of compulsion. As Gerald Voorhees says in his essay "I Play, Therefore I Am", by entering these "private times", the player "is detached from concrete reality and completely immersed in himself". As the game transports you to a second-hand, artificial god and divinity, you simultaneously forget the passage of time and your own physicalityyou become "compressed" like them.

Gaston Bachelard in "Boutique" Space" (1958) says that the miniature worlds are "ruling worlds". He shows a person's view from the top of the tower, how he thinks the people wandering around down there are "the size of mosquitoes" and "like ants, there's no logic behind the way they're going." The comparison with mosquitoes, as he writes, "has become so vulgar that no one dares to use it anymore." But the comparison of ants to humans and humans to ants has been repeatedly used in advices, legends and metaphors (2). Such a blanket analogy ignores subtleties and complexity, but is still inevitable; Even though it is implied that they see living beings as bolts and nuts, the purpose of which becomes clear when they seem to have a vision beyond humans and ants and look at things [from the top of the tower].

Bachelard's description is unlike Not the views of Will Wright (the creator of The Sims): he always thought of The Sims as a "herd simulation" and initially played with a vision similar to Bachelard's "view from the top of a tower". Wright has repeatedly and enthusiastically introduced Edward Osborne Wilson's studies on insects as his source of inspiration. Is. Also, in 2010, in an interview with the New Yorker, he said that Sims was the result of his previous simulations on the behavior of ants, which was able to become his present form. This means that in the Sims, humans are not coded as creatures with needs and desires; Most of the ants are in human clothes. Playing The Sims is more like playing with a combination of a miniature dollhouse and an ant colony.

Ants, which secrete pheromone chemicals to communicate with each other, with their complex structure and the way they grow mushrooms. , and also their desire to exile others and fight, they are really like humans. In other words, because ants came earlier than humans, it can be said that humans are more like ants than ants are like them. But most importantly, ants are extremely efficient. They seem to share information efficiently, and this is especially beneficial for building and following paths to resources, as well as moving them, solving problems collectively, digging tunnels, and maintaining cleanliness.

This amount of efficiency, considering that they are on such a small scale, makes ant communities seem astonishing. It seems that their systems are more perfect than human systems. Their lives are used today as a model for information optimization and communication sciences (especially with techniques known as Ant Colony Optimization Algorithms or ACOs, and it was first Marco Dorigo, as an artificial intelligence researcher, in a thesis that 1992 he wrote about reducing urban air pollution.) AOCs are a form of meta-heuristic intelligencecollective but with decentralized behavior like birds and beesused in telephone networks, traffic control, data mining, coal mining, and mine detection. be. Simulating the behavior of antsor the idea that, for example, the way ants keep themselves clean can be applied to nanotechnologyshows that systematization and computation are not exclusive to machines and can be natural phenomena. Because algorithms can be seen in the universe, because everything can be broken down into smaller pieces, therefore human machine technology logically moves along this path. It shows that hard work can also be seen in the work of nature: if ants worked tirelessly and without purpose, why aren't humans like that, when capitalist systems can be considered as a logical extrapolation of the "natural" colonies of ants? "Work like an ant and you'll be fine" has been among the ancient proverbs and sayings since the time of Aesop (although recent research shows that the key to ants' tunnel-digging success is largely due to their laziness).

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

Gnostic believers believed that humans have the power to make decisions, which is shown by the creation of humans with There was a mistake. So maybe if we liken ourselves to ants, or one of the Sims citizens, we'll be less bothered. As the historian Charlotte Sleigh wrote in 2001: "On the one hand, we envy the way of life of ants, and on the other hand, when we see that despite not having individuality, they are still dissolved in their society like this, compared to their helplessness in human society. We get confused.

Games that put us in the role of gods tell us to look at human society as if you were going to examine an ant colony. In playing these games, we repeat the systems that have failed us before, in simplified and compressed forms. The repetition of these miniature-scale systems reinforces the belief that they are natural. They pretend that systems of infinite complexity and incalculable probabilities, which characterize human societies, can be reduced to a simple and recognizable system for the individualand this is the fantasy we play with.

This is It does not mean that humans have nothing in common with ants. The problem is that ants are believed to have "civilization" and by examining it, one can understand how human societies function. Such a view, reinforced by games that put us in the role of gods, leads to the belief that there is a genetic and predetermined system and that all human societies throughout history have been similar, driven by the same foundations that , more or less depending on how they were managed, sometimes they seemed vague and sometimes changed. The player of such games imagines that there is a predetermined order to societies, even though the game itself conveys the message that man himself is nothing more than an ant that is simply bigger than him.

Biologist Lewis Thomas, in The Lives of a Cell (1974) wrote: "It is not good news to know that we are all connected intellectually, and so uniformly do the loose collective work that our instincts direct us to do, that we build something so vast that even from a distance We cannot see its entirety." It is understandable that people want to believe in their agency to have, even if it was a myth and our goals were not what we thought. Unlike ants - at least as far as we know - we zebras have an individual and collective goal for ourselves. What makes humans unique in terms of self-awareness is that whatever they face, they feel they have to make a decision about it, and these decisions shape the results of their lives. Gnostic believers believed that humans have the power to make decisions, which shows that human creation was accompanied by mistakes. So maybe if we liken ourselves to ants, or one of the Sims citizens, we'll be less bothered. As the historian Charlotte Sleigh wrote in 2001: "On the one hand, we envy the way of life of ants, and on the other hand, when we see that despite not having individuality, they are still dissolved in their society like this, compared to their helplessness in human society. We get confused."

Our relationship with games that put us in the role of gods is like this: on the one hand, we are amazed when we see how much power we feel in such small worlds, and on the other hand, we cannot at all (and maybe (don't want) to taste the same power in the real big world. Here comes to mind the image of a suburban kid with a magnifying glass in his hand, mischievously torturing [and burning with a magnifying glass] creatures onto whom he has projected his feelings. Research conducted on reports obtained from The Sims shows that players simulate their own families in the game (either positively or sadistically). It's like turning into an ant and trying to be burnedthat is, instead of burning the ant with a magnifying glass, we turn it toward our face. It's as if we're asking what if, instead, our lives went like this?

But the way the ant colony is idealized and used as a stereotypical example simplifies entomology as much as human society. We have more than 12 thousand species of ants, most of which have not been studied much; We ourselves are a species along with almost 500 other mammals. Among those studied species of ants, there is a great diversity. Soldier ants build bridges; Leaf-cutting ants are both agricultural and have evolved to cover stone; Microfossils are discovered in the remains of agricultural ants; The black ant queen "obliges" herself to stop the spread of the disease; Acacia ants protect the acacia tree; The Matabele carry their wounded relative to the nest. The role of ants is not as fixed as Wilson thought. Searching Indian ants may also overthrow their queen and compete for positionthe winner of the competition compresses their brain volume to store energy for the ovaries and, if necessary, enlarge their brains again. Ants may be much more conscious than previously thought, which means that the common view that ants are superorganisms whose brains are at the service of the queen [like cells are for the human body] could be wrong. Ants: Workers of the World, a recent book that provides a picture of these creatures, emphasizes the diversity of their body structure. Brooke Jarvis says that ants are so different in appearance and form that they can no longer be seen as "individuals" but as a "nation".

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time

We fantasize, redefine boundaries, start wars, build dangerous roads and, like a thoughtless god, take people from their jobs. We fire In fact, we do not gain an understanding of how the world works, but the decision-making ego itself becomes an excuse to escape from the real world. In playing the games that put us in the role of God, we see ourselves as degraded and careless as we see the ants themselvescompressed, simplified, reduced to playthings and leisure

Looking at the beautiful ants, but Troublemaker", Robert Hooke, as a 17th century scientist, imagined a perfect glass with which all the mechanisms of "nature's workshop" could be seen at the same time, so that it would be above the sky and its body on the ground, so that it would rule the world and be a member of It remains. He claimed that the understanding of such small worlds will lead to the understanding of the human brain itself. We see this fantasy in games that put us in the role of gods, who mistakenly think that if we "feel" that we have the will and willpower of gods, then we must have a deep understanding of human society.

In the interview between Wright and Wilson, both agree that the future of educational methods lies in games. But what do the games that put us in the role of God teach us? They certainly don't learn anything from the realities of urban management, or the history of the gradual transfer of cultures and technologies, or the real relationship between people. They don't talk about ants. A player whose time is taken by these titles will definitely miss an opportunity to To step on the path, to make eye contact with someone, to feel the temperature on his body [that is, to move on the hard ground of reality and not in the game]. Wilson writes that "our very existence has caused us a whole mess of things," and games like this reinforce that feeling. But in these "confidential times" we are fighting against ourselves: we fantasize, redefine boundaries, start wars, build dangerous roads, and fire people from their jobs like a thoughtless god. In fact, we do not gain an understanding of how the world works, but the decision-making ego itself becomes an excuse to escape from the real world. In playing games that put us in the role of God, we find ourselves as degraded and careless as the ants themselvescompressed, simplified, reduced to playthings and leisure.

Research published just this year. He says that the social nature of ants will probably protect them against climate change. Here the ants don't seem to resemble us: we're more like miller ants, known colloquially for their "falling slope," which occurs when soldier-ants suffer an information error. Confused and lost, the ant retraces its path, and the platoon of soldiers becomes trapped in this cycle, until the entire group becomes exhausted and hungry. We have become like them through the decisions we make, which are an expression of our own personality: someone occupied the door, so why not go back and start the game again?

BingMag.com collapse of colonies; When games turn us into gods and ants at the same time1. Moore's Law also says the same thing about transistors on a chip and says that they keep getting smaller and more compact. In addition, by referring to Kurzweil's Law, the growth rate of human inventions increases exponentially, and for example, the number of inventions in the 20th century is the total size of the inventions of the past centuries, and the inventions of the 21st century exceed all of them - and of course Combined with Moore's Law, it looks like these future innovations will be more compact and virtual than just physical and gigantic. (m)

2. For example, we can mention the article La Vie des fourmis (The Life of the Ant) (1930) by Maurice Maeterlinck, which compares the ant colony to the human society. Not only in proverbs and sayings, but also in the example of biology, after studying the life of ants, William Hamilton gradually came to the theory of self-selection (Kin Selection) and tried to see people as he saw ants and bees. Even though Karl Marx does not necessarily refer to ants in his "Grundrisse" or the foundations of criticism of political economy, he writes: "The structure of the human body is the key to understanding the structure of the monkey's body. The signs of development among creatures that are a subset of that species are understood only when the mechanism of the creature that is higher than them is already known. The character of Code Talker aligns the mercenary base of "Diamond Dogs" with super-organisms such as ants and bees. Although this work is not in the same style as The Sims or the Civilization series, the player is still in the position of a character who is the head of a military "supersystem" and is mortal in front of his subordinates, he is surrounded, he is avenging, he is generous, he is almighty and in general he is omnipotent:

Codego: All of you. Until now, I thought that your organization, that is, Diamond Dogs, was a superorganism.

Aslat: Well... you have to explain what you mean. The term refers to a group of social insects such as ants and bees. Although they are made up of many people, they act like an organism and the queen is the brain of this organism. The close relationship you have established together reminded me of this. [] I say in terms of homogeneity. Other than that you are all gathered here with different backgrounds? From different races and languages, with different talents and backgrounds. You complement each other, influence each other, and make Diamond Dogs the unique group that it is. [] Maybe your organization is more hyper-organized than ants and bees. Many organisms adapt to their environment by coexisting with other organisms. Consider, for example, a cow and its rumenthe first stomach contains an impressive number of different bacteria that help digest the food consumed. Without their help, the cow cannot break down and consume the fiber in the grass. The cow must "outsource" its way of survival to them in order to survive. /strong> Man is also the same. There are approximately 100 trillion bacteria in the human body without which they cannot function properly. And the case does not end here. Stomach, mouth, skin... even the placenta [the membrane that covers the fetus] has bacteria that coexist with us. So are parasites. In fact, the human body's immune system is like this It has evolved that parasites are also a part of it. Without them, the immune system goes into overdrive and damages other parts of the body.

Aslat: These are interesting topics, but what does it have to do with diamond dogs?

Codego: A coordinated super-system does not consist of a group of homogeneous people, but of different people who complement each other. This is what I saw in your group. Then I realized that man himself is also a superorganism. A person's phenotype is not formed only "due to" his genes. Some people say that if we draw a map of the genome of all the bacteria in the human body, their genome will be 100 times more than the human genome. The sum of the human genome and the genomes of the organisms that coexist with itlet's call it the genomemakes a superorganism that we know as humans. (m)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.