I’m a victim of feature creep. Here, I hope to catalogue some of my progress in catching up with those fleeting dreams.
Let me give you an example of the kind of fleeting dream I mean.
What kind of media do I want to consume? Do I want to play Pokémon? Well, sure, I used to, but Pokémon isn’t good enough for me nowadays. The physical range of motion is sub-par. The capacity for invention is limited to party construction and nicknaming. The characters don’t pass the Turing Test. Now, is there some other game I want to play? Oh, that’s right, no game expresses its characters in the depth that I want. Maybe I should read a book or watch a TV show; characters there usually pass just fine as sentient beings (in their own way). But wait, there’s no interaction at all!
Ideally, the media I want to consume has enough interaction to make me feel like my experience is personalized to who I am as a person, and it simultaneously has a good enough narrative that I can trust the world to act a certain way and for all character interaction–including that which I happen to initiate–to feel witty, informational, meaningful, and cohesive. (Maybe you’d like a game like that, too.)
The problem is not that I keep redefining the kind of media I want–although, that may very well happen for all I know. It’s that in order to acquire this media, an intractible problem has to be solved: the Turing Test.
My personal projects are like that. Maybe I’ll never see video game characters pass the Turing Test in my lifetime. Maybe it’ll be a while before there’s a satisfactory programming suite that automatically translates the existing code into whatever style, language, and context the current programmer is comfortable coding in at the time. Maybe the only formal math wikis I’ll ever see will be doomed to so many foundational and language disputes that they won’t be a brand name among the academic math community, let alone among the general public.
But wait. Some of these projects are more intractable than others. Some of them I can actually do something about. Let’s see what I can do.