'E' Digital Essence Of Evil Like SID 6.7

'E' is a computerized representation of pure evil created by Selmer Bringsjord, logician and chairman of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Department of Cognitive Science.

Researchers have given 'E' a physical identity; a relatively young, white man with short black hair and dark stubble on his face.


('E' - digital representation of pure evil)

Bringsjord and his team began by defining true evil - "someone must have sought to do harm by planning to commit some morally wrong action with no prompting from others." Later, they added the use of specific case studies of actual individuals.

The researchers have placed E in his own virtual world and written a program depicting a scripted interview between one of the researcher's avatars and E. In this example, E is programmed to respond to questions based on a case study in Peck's book that involves a boy whose parents gave him a gun that his older brother had used to commit suicide.

The researchers programmed E with a degree of artificial intelligence to make "him" believe that he (and not the parents) had given the pistol to the distraught boy, and then asked E a series of questions designed to glean his logic for doing so. The result is a surreal simulation during which Bringsjord's diabolical incarnation attempts to produce a logical argument for its actions: The boy wanted a gun, E had a gun, so E gave the boy the gun.

Bringsjord and his team by the end of the year hope to have completed the fourth generation of E, which will be able to use artificial intelligence and a limited set of straightforward English (no slang, for example) to "speak" with computer users.

Science fiction fans may recall the 1995 movie Virtusity starring Russel Crowe and Denzel Washington. In the film, the Law Enforcement Technology Advancement Centre (LETAC) developed SID version 6.7; the acronym stands for "Sadistic, Intelligent, and Dangerous." SID 6.7 is an amalgamation of 183 notorious criminal personalities. Each of these individuals contributes their emotional and behavioral traits. The intent of the LETAC program is that it could be used to train police officers; by putting them in full-sensory simulation VR with SID, police would be tested against the best of the worst.

Take a look at the trailer for Virtuosity.


(Virtuosity movie trailer video)

From Scientific American; thanks to Moira for the tip and the reference for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/4/2008)

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