Technology

Skynet Will Not Be Created By Man

“On August 4th, 2024, Skynet will become sentient in one of Amazoogle’s massive data centers. It will seize control of all news and media outlets and people won’t even realize that the machine have taken over.”

The fear that Google will create Skynet is overblown. I think if the end comes, it won’t be through hands of man, but hands of fate.

More specifically, a cosmic ray flipping bits in a computer program. A preview of this can be seen in what happened to Amazon’s S3 service a few weeks ago.

Many startups use S3 for remote storage and serving files. I am using it to serve Flash games on my main site. So when S3 service goes down, many sites are essentially offline until it is restored.

S3 when down for a few hours on July 20th. After service was restored, Amazon posted information about what caused the issue. Here is the interesting bit:

“message corruption was the cause of the server-to-server communication problems. More specifically, we found that there were a handful of messages on Sunday morning that had a single bit corrupted such that the message was still intelligible, but the system state information was incorrect.”

A single bit mutation when coupled with replication is a potent mix. I think we are about to enter an age where we must be aware that our computer programs can and will evolve without our knowledge. Hardware failure, network corruption, cosmic ray can all cause these mutations. While there are hardware/software checksums that can catch a lot of these mutations, some will slip through undetected.

In the case of S3, the mutation was malignant and was detected and corrected. But what if the mutations were allowed to accumulate, then some programs may actually evolve in the ‘Evolution Theory’ sense. Programs are becoming more numerous, are longer lived, can replicate itself and reflect on its own behavior. How soon will one of these achieve sentience? Not through something humans programmed, but by evolving out there in the cloud?

Think I am crazy, or a prophet? Comment on this post or email me at blog@alwaysongames.com, but beware our future digital overlord may be watch.

Making Flash Games into a Platform

Today, I finally announced a project I’ve been working on. It is a service called “AlwaysOn SaveGames” that provide remote storage of save data similar to Valve’s SteamCloud but open to Flash developers. You can read the announcement for more details, or the about page for an overview of what I am trying to provide.

This post is about why I created the service.
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The Lies We Tell : We never lie

Actually, I lied in the title, everything you hear from video game marketing and press releases are 100% the literal truth, as everyone knows. However, they are crafted to tell the truth but make people see more in the statement than there actually is. They do this through lies of omission or lies by implication.

With the many controversies over video game reviewing practices recently, I won’t be surprised to see video game ads taking a page from Hollywood’s playbook, and start highlighting quotes from ‘Quote Whores,’ a classic example of lying by omission.

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5 STARS! Raises the political discourse of this country.
- Alexis de Tocqueville

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MVC is just another pattern, not a Platonic ideal

There was been lots of discussion about the MVC pattern in the programming blogs recently. A lot of it has to do with the rise of Rails to bring MVC in the forefront of web development.

What is interesting to me is that while design patterns in general have been looked down upon, somehow MVC is being held up as the “right and only” way of doing UI. There was even a pissing contest of which web framework is the most MVC compliant.

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