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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let’s prove that Hatsune Miku is real, shall we?


Game Theory by Matt S.

I’ve touched on the topic of Hatsune Miku’s presence in reality in the past, but as I was playing through Steins;Gate 0 over the last couple of weeks, the discussion over the “realness” of virtual people got me thinking about the topic all over again. So I figured I’d sit down and drum out a more complete piece looking at just how “real” Hatsune Miku is.

It sounds silly to suggest that she is real, of course. Miku’s a digital character who exists on screens, and for most people, she isn’t much more than a videogame character. But, on various scientific and philosophical levels, the reality is far more complex than that, and there’s a very real argument to make that Miku’s a very real being. Is she a person? No, as there are a significant number of indicators on a checklist to humanity that Miku would not check off. But: is she real? is a topic far less definitive. Enough so that perhaps an easier way to think about it is that you wouldn’t be able to argue effectively that she’s not real.

But first, before we get on with the argument, there’s a video that you need to watch through in introducing this piece. This TED Talk by evolutionary psychologist, Donald Hoffman, forms the basis of my own line of argument, so please watch it in full first (it will blow your mind, anyway):


So,how does all that apply to Hatsune Miku? I actually spoke to Hoffman on the topic a while back (one of my favourite things to do being to talk with academics about Miku), and as it turns out, plenty.

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Let’s prove that Hatsune Miku is real, shall we?
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