The “Kirkyan”

Posted on Sunday 19 March 2006

This will probably go nowhere, but I figure I’ll join in on the neologistic bandwagon and create a term for something I can’t otherwise define since neither spime nor blogject work: “kirkyan”. For background, you might want to start on the comments section of the SL Future Salon website (Link). That’s where I first blurted out the basic, unfinished idea which started forming back in December during an SL Future Salon meeting with Phillip Torrone from Make (I had suggested they code an artificial intelligence in Second Life and download it to the robotic mice the people at Make were building).

I’ve also very recently mentioned this concept in a post (reLink), and figured I should wrap it up and ship it. Good thing actually since I hit on something I’d not considered and wound up expanding on it and rethinking a few things; the changes will be obvious.

So, this is the concept:

A kirkyan is similar to a spime or blogject, but different in that a kirkyan is actually a Thing comprised of a combination of reality instances. One instance exists in our physical world (kirkyan P) and one or more “sibling” instances exist in their respective, independent virtual worlds (kirkyan V1′, V2′, V3′, aso). They are independent yet part of a whole.

Unlike the singular physical instantiation, the virtual instantiation(s) can itself/themselves replicate identically and sub-evolve independently (e.g. V2’1, V2’2, V2’3, aso). The virtual space kirkyan subset(s) then contribute to the evolution of the primary kirkyan instantiation; in this example, V2′ – the original virtual instantiation of this kirkyan for independent virtual space #2.

Each instantiation carries the “DNA” with which to create the other(s). Each carries the history and learnings of the other(s), so that when one expires, an evolved version can replace it; created from the data stored in the transreality sibling(s).

A kirkyan can be a blogject, with the physical instantiation involved in the physical world as an interactive component of a network that includes the virtual instance(s). Additionally, each instantiation of a kirkyan independently has most of the qualities of a spime:

  • 1) each instantiation has some means of affixing to it a unique identity.
  • 2) each instantiation has a positioning system that allows its location to be determined in either virtual or physical space and time.
  • 3) instantiations can be tracked and each can track the other(s).
  • 4) each instantiation maintains a searchable history that is independent yet intertwined with its transreality sibling(s). Consequently each has a narrative. The kirkyan history would be an integrated record.
  • I’d also add that each instantiation maintains a definition database, a record of its own “DNA”, and each maintains a database of the other(s) to facilitate their evolution/replication. It might not seem that a matching database is necessary for kirkyan V’s; however, even a virtual 3D object can have components that are independently unique beyond simple shape-defining data.

    For example, a virtual hammer might have Cartesian data defining its shape, but the handle could be tagged with a specific material (e.g. polymer; unique from the steel head) and thus have “solid” physical properties assigned to it (material density, thermal conductivity, elasticity, aso). In a physics-enabled virtual world simulation, this component data becomes integral to its existence in that virtual space. Because it {potentially} represents kirkyan P in this way, a physically representational “impact” in that virtual world which “damages” kirkyan V’ (or one of its replicated versions) might be used to evolve the physical instantiation.

    This would, of course, depend on the relationship between that particular virtual space and the physical space. However, if the relationship is determined to be relevant (e.g. the physics are similar), the discovery of a vulnerability through such a virtual event could trigger kirkyan P to self-destruct in order that it can be immediately recycled and refabricated into a more robust object. This sacrificial quality allows defective products to repair/evolve themselves, if possible; or at the very least alert creators to a defect.

    The kirkyan is essentially an evolutionary, redundant system; not so much an AI as a relatively simple comparison algorithm (after all, a hammer – real or virtual – is pretty unintelligent).

    So this all taken together allows, among other things, for the physical object (kirkyan P) to be recycled into a system that can then access data from the virtual object(s) (kirkyan V’) to replicate an evolved physical instantiation (kirkyan P+) … which then can cycle a feedback loop to the virtual object(s) (kirkyan V’+) so that it/they can then “regenerate” (to use a Pro/ENGINEER CAD term) to ensure any deviation in the final fabricated physical version is documented. The same would be true in the event a computer virus attacked and destroyed one, more or all of the kirkyan virtual instantiations. The physical manifestation – having a non-writable recovery system and the ability to isolate itself from the network – can subsequently evolve its code to make it immune to the virus; at which point it can create new, virtual siblings.

    Kirkyans are not “virtual objects first and actual objects second” in the literal sense. It is not necessarily a product of CAD/CAM. A kirkyan might start as a sculpted ceramic piece with embedded firmware and then be three-dimensionally scanned, with all data representing the physical instantiation, kirkyan P, then used to create the transreality sibling(s). A physical replacement would, however, be replicated through a network-controlled process; most likely additive. Consequently, kirkyans do not necessarily begin as data (unless of course we decide to get all metaphysical or Creationist here).

    A kirkyan can only be a non-living object. A plant or animal could be implanted with firmware and dimensionally scanned, but in such a case, the “ghost in the shell” always comes initially from the physical instance. That predetermination is in conflict with the concept of dual-direction, transreality multiplicity.

    Okay, that was fun. Glad it’s out of my system.

    For anyone who manages to remotely understand what I’m trying to communicate, rip it up. It’s as much a ramble as anything.

    {Update: Someone created a short-lived Wikipedia entry for this concept. It wasn’t accurate, so I rewrote it with what might be for most people an easy-to-understand example. The Wikipedia entry was voted off the site but I saved that entry: Kirkyan. I should also mention that the “buoy” to which I’m referring is a controllable, self-propelled node within a string of booms. I don’t know that the oil industry has anything of this sort, and, consequently, don’t know what something like it might be called.}

    1.  
      3/19/2006 | 9:49 pm
       

      You are right, that totally went over my head! But i like your conceptual thinking, keep it up!

    2.  
      3/19/2006 | 10:03 pm
       

      I have a product in mind that, when you see how it works, makes the idea much simpler to understand. I don’t think it’s a question of IF this sort of thing will be done; only WHEN. And it might be sooner than people think because rather than refabricate a kirkyan P, it could also be reconfigured (see this earlier post for an example of a “polybot” – reLink).

      This is like the RadTag. Not many people understood it back when I did that thing. Now the concept of a “blogject” is everywhere.

    3.  
      3/22/2006 | 2:34 pm
       

      [...] And finally, it’s always good to be reminded that some people look at the world in a very different way. (I posted on Spimes here, so I get that part. The rest of the “kirkyan” post I’m still trying to figure out.) [...]

    4.  
      Josh
      3/23/2006 | 1:19 pm
       

      So, in my wearable computing class in college we made a capture the flag game. The idea was we had a wearable with a heads up display that had GPS tracking and head tracking. We hid flags in the virtual world and we ran around in a subset of real world that had a 1-1 mapping in the virtual world. If you turn your head in the real world, out of one eye you may see a friend and in the other eye you may see is avatar. But, the connection doesn’t always hold, and there are computers that you play against.

      I imagined that such a system could be extended further, where that players may have multiple avatars along with blogs et al. It would be similar to snow crash, except that you could have both a virtual city and a semi-virtual city, where you may pass someone in the real world that might correspond to also simultaneously passing an avatar in the virtual world. You could say hello in both worlds, or you could see if this real person had other avatars in other worlds and, like in Snow Crash, a whole otehr life in the virtual world.

      Our game was far from the complicated, but, it was built on top of some software that you can find here: http://www.interreality.org

    5.  
      3/23/2006 | 1:51 pm
       

      What you’re describing is not at all what I’m defining.

      I have to be honest, I’m surprised that people don’t get this idea. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the concept of siblings (or twins) and instead referred to a kirkyan as a pseudo-schizophrenic object with one “personality” in the physical and the other in the virtual. A transreality amoeba that can split itself into its other reality twin and thus inhabit both real and virtual spaces, but always linked and able to share information.

      btw, this stuff dovetails with the military’s pilotless drone system. I expect the first place this concept will take root is in the military (actually, I’m guessing they already have a system like this).

    6.  
      w
      3/23/2006 | 3:39 pm
       

      Cool idea. But do you mean ‘blobject’ instead of ‘blogject’. If not, what’s a blogject? Thanks.

    7.  
      3/23/2006 | 4:46 pm
       

      Glad someone understands this concept.

      From Bleeker’s “Why Things Matter” PDF defining a blogject:

      “Blogject” is a neologism that’s meant to focus attention on the participation of “objects” and “things” in the sphere of networked discourse variously called the blogosphere, or social web. The Blogject is a kind of early ancestor to the Spime…”

      cont’d

      Three peculiarities of Blogjects:
      - Blogjects track and trace where they are and where they’ve been;
      - Blogjects have self-contained (embedded) histories of their encounters and experiences
      - Blogjects always have some form of agency – they can foment action and participate; they have an assertive voice within the social web.

      My RadTag design ( Link ) would qualify as a “blogject” since it:

      1) tracks and traces using onboard positioning capabilities
      2) maintains a short history of its sensed experience used in simple comparison checks
      3) has a voice – both visually and audibly warning the wearer of imminent danger and participating in a network that shares sensory data with other blogjects/users

      Blogjects might be precursors to Spimes. In the same way Spimes would be precursors to Kirkyans.

    8.  
      3/24/2006 | 9:58 am
       

      Well, the spambots have found this. Time to close comments for now.

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