AI – Avatar Identity – Digital Artifact

AI - Avatar Identity
AI - Avatar Identity - Tags and Avatars

Ai & Be – Avatar Internet Chat

Design rationale, background, video, extended artifact and live artifact visiting details:

About Ai Austin

Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Virtual Worlds
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14 Responses to AI – Avatar Identity – Digital Artifact

  1. Austin Tate says:

    I was planning originally to create a single image with all the visual elements I wanted to include… and make that my single visual artifact. But after development I felt that the dual screen showing Ai and Be logged in… imagine me as the user being the third part… with two views and two characters onto the scene…gave a better idea of “Avatar Identity” – itself also of course a reference on “AI” as “Artificial Intelligence“.

    The surreal other worlds scene is composited from a strangely coloured Pensacola Beach (I am a visiting scientist at a research lab in Pensacola) with influence from the film of Carl Segan’s “Contact”, with its palm trees, set on a far off planet or moon in an alternate universe fare off in time and space. This is mixed with a scene and colours as if we are on the edge of a liquid methane lake on Titan with Saturn and its rings, and a nearby moon hanging in the sky. Our names and some cultural artifacts are on the Huygens lander that now sits near such a lake on Titan.

    Then there are cloned avatars of Ai and Be emerging, some appearing as the “ghostly cloud” non-rezzed avatar form in Second Life, some resolved, some never resolving – leavign an uneasy feeling. I experimented with avatar looks and clothes that I have used over the last 5 or 6 years for Ai and Be… using only those that I have returned to as “comfortable“. This part of the artifact is quite dynamic and the live artifact on the Central region on the Openvue virtual world grid might contain different appearances and avatars, and you can even add your own clone if you visit. Hence the visual artifact contains a sample of images of Ai and Be too.

    Elements of the Beatles lyrics from the opening line of “I am the Walrus” – “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together” – link the elements together… suggested by a Wordle tag cloud of the themes in the visual artifact along with these lyrics.

    Finally I set up Ai and Be to be in their “user offline” forms where they are equipped with a MyCyberTwin chat bot capability… and I seeded the discussion to get them talking and left them to it… watching as they chatted, and commented about how I had not informed them of the opinions they should hold. I sit and weatch them chat between themselves… is that “me” talkling or “he” or “she” or “us“. I speculate as to how well they reflect what I woud say.

    I use the spelling “artifact” rather than “artefact” as I frequently correspond across a UK and US community and that is a preferred cross cultural spelling. See

    In case you would like to see a single image reflecting the artifact… similar to what I was originally aiming towards.. its in the “Visual Elements” section near the bottom of and its direct URL is:

    I am exploring issues of familiarity, avatar relationships to their creator, personality, gender, strange scenes, unfamiliar and exciting other worlds.

  2. Grace Elliott says:

    Hi Austin,

    I’m only able to look at the images as I’m having a little trouble with Internet access at the moment and feel I’m missing not being able to hear the music. I can see how the music would connects the images – such a good choice. The clones confuse me but maybe they represent the ‘confusion’ that can be felt in unfamiliar places. The virtual world seems to be a place you feel comfortable in. People are multi-faceted and your avatars help characterise this aspect.

  3. This is great Austin! You seem to be touching on most of the themes we’ve discussed but I really like the notion of multiple identities and of agents (which in a sense are extensions of our identities). We do this everyday when we go online, splitting ourselves and showing different faces to each audience or group that we interact with. Kool artifact!

  4. Austin Tate says:

    Grace… thanks for looking at my digital artifact. There is no audio track in it… so you are not missing anything in that respect. On the issue of clones and that they all look the same … but are they? They have different environment and context and will respond differntly to the touch. After a while, or if pushed downhill by other avatars or clones they can start to slide on the terrain and can even dissapear under the water! I feel bad thay “my” avatars are underwater and go rescue them. Why?

    We have big plans for avatar clones and NPCs to act as meeting room and operations centre assistants, and in PhD work perhaps a classroom assistant. But we try to make clear they are not “us” live. People sometimes wonder and ask if a person is really responding.

    To see more details go to where the full artifact is and where there are clickable links to the underlying details that are melded into the artifact.

  5. Austin Tate says:

    I should say why I used OpenSim for the Avatar Identity artifact creation… even though OpenSim is a bit more technically complicated to access. it needs a –loginuri parameter to be added to the launch program icon properties… or use of a third party viewer which supports multiple virtual world grids.

    OpenSim currrently supports NPC and clones avatars as NPCs. Second Life plans to include facilities along these lines too, but they are not yet available. See, e.g.,

    For intrepid travelllers, or those who already have an OpenSim avatar on pretty much any Hypergrid setup, details of how to set up to visit the Central region on the Openvue grid are at the bottom of

  6. Siân Bayne says:

    Hi Austin, I love what you’re doing here with the multiple avatar ‘identities’ and the uncanny landscape – not to mention the gender play… (I particularly like the Avatar avatars!).

    I’ve tried a couple of times to get in to open vue and look at the artefact there but haven’t managed it. I’m trying to use my current SL browser, but can’t work out where I should be pointing my avatar once I’m in?

  7. Austin Tate says:

    Although you can use the Linden Labs Second Life viewer….. uncannily its NOT Second Life itself. Its a strange Other World Sian… Openvue is an OpenSim grid NOT Vue in SL 🙂 Instructions to add the required –loginuri parameter to get to this unfamiliar landscape are at the bottom of

  8. Carol Jane Collins says:

    HI Austin

    Liked the nod to the Beatles…its such a great, and very apt lyric when thinking about SL!

  9. Geraldine says:

    Hi Austin,

    Just fascinated by the idea of cloned avatars and chatbot to chatbot converations! Thanks for opening up a whole new world 😉

  10. Austin Tate says:

    One more image before I move on… the moon has moved closer as we orbit Saturn and more avatar clones appear with different outfits… new visitors arrive, perhaps across the Hypergrid, and, disconcertingly for them, right in the middle of the bonfire…

  11. Austin Tate says:

    A short video of the digital artifact now available on YouTube and via

  12. Jeremy Keith Knox says:

    This really is a super visual artifact Austin, and stimulating much thought about copies, clones and doubles in relation to some of the course themes folks have been discussing. (I also liked how you emphasised your decision to use a particular spelling of artifact, ‘I’ seems to me to be pretty important in a discussion of AI, clones and identity!…but then again so is ‘he’, ‘you’ or ‘me’)

    I’ve been dipping into some Baudrillard recently, and there seems to be something here about a kind of technological cleansing of biological reproduction, an economy of sexuality, and perhaps the desire for a form of autogenesis. The idea of cloning seems to be permeated with the desire to master the (genetic) codes of the body, and escape the oedipal complex. Your artifact is certainly making me think about the kind of transhuman/posthuman narratives that formulate the human in terms of genetic codes, and forewarn of the mastery over life that future technology will command.

    More soberly however, the proliferation of copies seems to reflect the sense of unease discussed in Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies; the desire for authenticity in a domain abounding with artifice.

  13. Austin Tate says:

    My goodness Jeremy.. those are long words 🙂 Freud would have a field day.

  14. Neil David Buchanan says:

    I think this is fascinating in the context of the origins of avatars which originally described a representation of a divine being (Hindu) descending to earth in order to participate in earthly matters. They would easily cope with landing in bonfires! In the original Sanskrit versions the avatars took on human, animal and other shapes and easily shifted sex. It’s interesting to see how we are returning to this notion after the almost clinical avatars represented in science fiction for so long (I’m thinking of the avatars in the novels of Iain M Banks’ “Culture” series, for example). After the stripped down, sleek, sexless omniscient avatars it is exciting to return to the earthier and more visceral representations: less Spock, more Kirk! What I find interesting is how much we are influenced by popular culture in our avatar constructions.

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