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common objects presented to it by grabbing an image and processing it (e.g. finding edges, division into parts, color and texture analysis). The agent then processes the information through a metaphorically-linked associative database of words and ideas. The computer selects the phrases linked to the features of the object and speaks a sentence in English that though nominally grammatically correct, is awkward, idiosyncratic and nonsensical. Nonetheless, the visitor can enjoy a different and surprisingly refreshing way of perceiving and naming reality. Rokeby considers «The Giver of Names» an isolate with a consistent if strange personality that conveys loneliness. Thus, «The Giver of Names» needs a community of intelligent agents, namely, «n-Cha(n)t».
«n-Cha(n)t» consists of a room of symmetrically arranged monitors each containing a human head on which one ear is shown prominently. A hand over the ear indicates that the entity is not taking in new information. Otherwise, when the ear is open, it is possible to influence the stream of language intoned by each member of the «choir» by speaking into a microphone. These phrases are both English and alien,
poetry and nonsense. Given limited disturbance from visitors, the individuals in «n-Cha(n)t» influence each other, gradually coming into unison. This chant is a striking instance of mutuality or the crowd as one that is both chilling (perhaps because the visitor is excluded from their united power) and entrancing. The unison will inevitably decay into monolog even without further disturbance. Rokeby’s individual and collective cyborgs complicate the monstrousness of combining human and machine; they suggest there will always be a space in between them. Even when Rokeby’s cyborgs copy human forms of language and exchange, they remain alien, albeit in poetic and illuminating ways.
Massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPG) engage thousands of gamers at once in contests between individuals and groups and in the exploration of. alternate worlds on a grand scale. MMORPG’s have some of the qualities of the infinite game (never ending play), but on-line gaming society is constrained as much by the problem of how to imagine