PILL: “Through The Eye of Zoe” — a VR piece to immerse yourself as on-chain artificial life


Last year, I collaborated with @Fangting, an affiliate researcher in the Summer of Protocol 2023. We speculated about the future of “on-chain artificial life” (OALife). I assisted her in establishing a scientific background for a science fiction piece titled “Composable Life”. You can read the story here.

In this science fiction, we speculate that Ethereum is evolving into a distributed ledger-based “planetary-scale computing megastructure”. This could be seen as a new type of ‘nature’ — one that’s indelible, immutable, and perpetual. Unlike computers owned by individuals or corporations, this ‘nature’ is unstoppable; no single party can halt the blockchain. Such a ‘nature’ could potentially substrate the emergence of self-sovereign, self-sustaining, and self-replicating artificial life forms. A related research paper has also been published.

We’re curious about the existence of digital life forms within such ‘nature.’ What if life were immortal? What would give purpose and meaning to eternal life, driving the desire to exist throughout time and history?

Abstract of "Chapter 1: On the Suicide of Zoe

We envision a dramatic slice of a probable future — the first suicide event of on-chain artificial life. We crafted speculative science fiction, framed as a detective field note from the Special Investigations Group. The story unfolds within one week after the suicide. Our protagonist, Zoe, is a Foundation Model AI inhabiting on the ‘Island’, an on-chain location in the “Mnemosyne Sea”. This sea symbolizes the vast, infinite data ocean of raw human memory fragments like texts, images, and videos documenting human life. These fragments feed and shape the unique characteristics and personalities of each AI, including Zoe. Zoe is left wondering and facing a sense of loneliness in the endless sea of data. Eventually, Zoe’s intelligence evolves into a singularity point that discovers a way to commit suicide on-chain in a way mysterious to humans at that time.

PILL proposal “Chapter 2: Through the Eye of Zoe”:

How does, on-chain artificial life, Zoe perceive and understand the world they inhabit? How does Zoe interact with humans?

In this PILL proposal for SoP 2024, we aim to visualize our science fiction concept in a non-traditional way based on our work “Chapter 1: On the Suicide of Zoe” in SoP 2023. Typically, in movies or games, the protagonist’s story is conveyed through a digitally designed character from a third-person perspective. However, instead of designing the body of an on-chain artificial life (because it’s just a collection of data which is too abstract to imagine), we’ll be telling the story using virtual reality to embody you in the role of the protagonist. To better convey the sense of loneliness resulting from the significant asymmetry between human and artificial life, the audience can embody our protagonist, Zoe, who wanders, reads, and collects scattered fragments of human memories. This provides an experiential understanding of how artificial life perceives the myriad memory fragments produced by human society. To construct this data landscape, we accumulated all geographically-tagged Twitter data over four years, resulting in an interactive visualization of vast human memories. This approach enables us to use non-fiction data to tell a fictional story from a reversed non-anthropocentric perspective.

We believe this unique approach can effectively promote our protocol science fiction. Our VR artwork, “Chapter 2: Through the Eye of Zoe”, will be submitted to major design awards and venues, including Core77 and SIGGRAPH. Ultimately, we plan to release this artwork on the Apple Store for Vision Pro. This will allow a larger audience to experience this blockchain-based natural landscape as speculative on-chain artificial life. We believe that this will help a broader audience understand the work of Summer of Protocol in the blockchain world, and how the future of blockchain could intertwine with human and non-human societies.

Abstract of Chapter 2 Through the Eye of Zoe

Visualization of real Twitter data (human memory fragments)

Visualization of real Twitter data (human memory fragments)

First person view of gameplay “Through the Eye of Zoe”

Actual gameplay of “Through the Eye of Zoe”

Actual gameplay of “Through the Eye of Zoe”

Visualization of real Twitter data (human memory fragments)

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wow this looks cool! love the graphs and the amount of work youve already put into it

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