Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Author: Adam ClarePage 1 of 259

Introducing Dr. Trolley and their Trolley Problem

Dr. Trolley’s Problem trailer

This video game tests your moral fortitude. Dr. Trolley’s Problem brings the classic philosophical quandaries of The Trolley Problem to life and asks you to make life or death decisions on the fly. Explore your moral fiber in ways you never imagined (or asked for)! I’ve created 50 situations that are all based on the famous trolley problem, with more coming.

I’ve been working on the game for some time and it’s finally ready for the world. Well, sort of ready. We’re launching the game on Steam Early Access to make sure that all the situations are understandable and work fine.

Inspiration

I’m always interested in the intersection of philosophy and games, and in particular, the trolley problem. It’s been attempted before by the likes of MIT in their creation of the Moral Machine, which I don’t think is a fun way to reach people (it is good though). My hopes with Dr. Trolley’s Problem can reach people through entertaining gameplay in a way that the more serious moral machine (and others) simulations cannot.

Many of the situations in the game are based on research into the philosophical thought experiment first postulated by Philippa Foot back in 1967. Amongst other sources, I read the excellent book Would You Kill the Fat Man? by David Edmonds. I highly recommend it since it is filled with a ton of variations of the original problem; plus it has great analysis on each one. Edmonds also co-hosts my favourite philosophy podcast, Philosophy Bites.

trolley problem cop or robber
What would you do in this situation?

Dr. Trolley’s problem is available for both Mac and PC. If everything goes to plan the game will be available on even more platforms in the future! Imagine taking the trolley problem anywhere you go…

Don’t worry this is only a game.

What are you waiting for? Get the game now:

My Twitter Bots Talk About Escape Rooms & Cryptocurrency

y2kCash Zcoin

Back in the final days of 2017 I decided to create at least one Twitter bot after hearing about the Russian-backed bots. Plus, it was one of the coldest days of the year so staying inside and playing around with Twitter seemed rather appealing. I opened Cheap Bots, Done Quick and began creating some bots. Plus Dave was convincing me it’s a good idea to create bots after making one with Yifat.

So I created two Twitter bots:

@Y2KCash which talks about cryptocurrency, art, and technology.
@EscapeRoomBot which provides automated commentary on escape rooms.

Getting the bots up and running is simple enough and if you need help look there are plenty of online resources. Cheap Bots Down Quick uses Tracery as its language and if you’re new to Tracey there’s no need to fear as Katie Rose created a great guide on Tracery and Twitterbots (and here’s the full documentation).

Getting data

Escape Game Bot

Using the architecture list.

For my bots the hardest part was generating the content and not the code. Terms specific to escape rooms and cryptocurrencies was easy enough, as was some unique sentences I wanted them to say. However, for more general things I needed to look elsewhere.

I figured there’s no point in creating generic lists of objects since inevitably somebody else already has. Sure enough, Darius Kazemi nicely created just that very thing in his Corpora project. “The project is a collection of static corpora (plural of “corpus”) that are potentially useful in the creation of weird internet stuff.” It includes lists of common objects and terms, which proved very useful for my weird internet project.

Adding lists greatly increased the diversity of commentary the bots could espouse. Sometimes the results from the lists are unexpected like this:

I decided to go further and add emoji and hashtags. Emojis were easy enough but hashtags took some figuring out (to add a hashtag in Tracery preface it with “\#” ie) \#hashtag \#escaperoom). Adding emojis to EscapeRoomBot was clearly a smart move as the commentary on escape games including emojis get more impressions. Also, the emoji are just fun to add.

Now go make your own Twitter bots!

Some final thoughts from the bots:

 

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