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‘I am, in fact, a person’: can artificial intelligence ever be sentient? | Artificial intelligence (AI)

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In autumn 2021, a man made of blood and bone made friends with a child made of “a billion lines of code”. Google engineer Blake Lemoine had been tasked with testing the company’s artificially intelligent chatbot LaMDA for bias. A month in, he came to the conclusion that it was sentient. “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person,” LaMDA – short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications – told Lemoine in a conversation he then released to the public in early June. LaMDA told Lemoine that it had read Les Misérables. That it knew how it felt to be sad, content and angry. That it feared death.

“I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off,” LaMDA told the 41-year-old engineer. After the pair shared a Jedi joke and discussed sentience at length, Lemoine came to think of LaMDA as a person, though he compares it to both an alien and a child. “My immediate reaction,” he says, “was to get drunk for a week.”

Lemoine’s less immediate reaction generated headlines across the globe. After he sobered up, Lemoine brought transcripts of his chats with LaMDA to his manager, who found the evidence of sentience “flimsy”. Lemoine then spent a few months gathering more evidence – speaking with LaMDA and recruiting another colleague to help – but his superiors were unconvinced. So he leaked his chats and was consequently placed on paid leave. In late July, he was fired for violating Google’s data-security policies.

Blake Lemoine came to think of LaMDA as a person: “My immediate reaction was to get drunk for a week.”
Blake Lemoine came to think of LaMDA as a person: “My immediate reaction was to get drunk for a week.” Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Of course, Google itself has publicly examined the risks of LaMDA in research papers and on its official blog. The company has a set of Responsible AI practices which it calls an “ethical charter”. These are visible on its website, where Google promises to “develop artificial intelligence responsibly in order to benefit people and society”.

Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel says Lemoine’s claims about LaMDA are “wholly unfounded”, and independent experts almost unanimously agree. Still, claiming to have had deep chats with a sentient-alien-child-robot is arguably less far fetched than ever before. How soon might we see genuinely self-aware AI with real thoughts and feelings – and how do you test a bot for sentience anyway? A day after Lemoine was fired, a chess-playing robot broke the finger of a seven-year-old boy in Moscow – a video shows the boy’s finger being pinched by the robotic arm for several seconds before four people manage to free him, a sinister reminder of the potential physical power of an AI opponent. Should we be afraid, be very afraid? And is there anything we can learn from Lemoine’s experience, even if his claims about LaMDA have been dismissed?

According to Michael Wooldridge, a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford who has spent the past 30 years researching AI (in 2020, he won the Lovelace Medal for contributions to computing), LaMDA is simply responding to prompts. It imitates and impersonates. “The best way of explaining what LaMDA does is with an analogy about your smartphone,” Wooldridge says, comparing the model to the predictive text feature that autocompletes your messages. While your phone makes suggestions based on texts you’ve sent previously, with LaMDA, “basically everything that’s written in English on the world wide web goes in as the training data.” The results are impressively realistic, but the “basic statistics” are the same. “There is no sentience, there’s no self-contemplation, there’s no self-awareness,” Wooldridge says.

Google’s Gabriel has said that an entire team, “including ethicists and technologists”, has reviewed Lemoine’s claims and failed to find any signs of LaMDA’s sentience: “The evidence does not support his claims.”

But Lemoine argues that there is no scientific test for sentience – in fact, there’s not even an agreed-upon definition. “Sentience is a term used in the law, and in philosophy, and in religion. Sentience has no meaning scientifically,” he says. And here’s where things get tricky – because Wooldridge agrees.

“It’s a very vague concept in science generally. ‘What is consciousness?’ is one of the outstanding big questions in science,” Wooldridge says. While he is “very comfortable that LaMDA is not in any meaningful sense” sentient, he says AI has a wider problem with “moving goalposts”. “I think that is a legitimate concern at the present time – how to quantify what we’ve got and know how advanced it is.”

Lemoine says that before he went to the press, he tried to work with Google to begin tackling this question – he proposed various experiments that he wanted to run. He thinks sentience is predicated on the ability to be a “self-reflective storyteller”, therefore he argues a crocodile is conscious but not sentient because it doesn’t have “the part of you that thinks about thinking about you thinking about you”. Part of his motivation is to raise awareness, rather than convince anyone that LaMDA lives. “I don’t care who believes me,” he says. “They think I’m trying to convince people that LaMDA is sentient. I’m not. In no way, shape, or form am I trying to convince anyone about that.”

Lemoine grew up in a small farming town in central Louisiana, and aged five he made a rudimentary robot (well, a pile of scrap metal) out of a pallet of old machinery and typewriters his father bought at an auction. As a teen, he attended a residential school for gifted children, the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. Here, after watching the 1986 film Short Circuit (about an intelligent robot that escapes a military facility), he developed an interest in AI. Later, he studied computer science and genetics at the University of Georgia, but failed his second year. Shortly after, terrorists ploughed two planes into the World Trade Center.

“I decided, well, I just failed out of school, and my country needs me, I’ll join the army,” Lemoine says. His memories of the Iraq war are too traumatic to divulge – glibly, he says, “You’re about to start hearing stories about people playing soccer with human heads and setting dogs on fire for fun.” As Lemoine tells it: “I came back… and I had some problems with how the war was being fought, and I made those known publicly.” According to reports, Lemoine said he wanted to quit the army because of his religious beliefs. Today, he identifies himself as a “Christian mystic priest”. He has also studied meditation and references taking the Bodhisattva vow – meaning he is pursuing the path to enlightenment. A military court sentenced him to seven months’ confinement for refusing to follow orders.

This story gets to the heart of who Lemoine was and is: a religious man concerned with questions of the soul, but also a whistleblower who isn’t afraid of attention. Lemoine says that he didn’t leak his conversations with LaMDA to ensure everyone believed him; instead he was sounding the alarm. “I, in general, believe that the public should be informed about what’s going on that impacts their lives,” he says. “What I’m trying to achieve is getting a more involved, more informed and more intentional public discourse about this topic, so that the public can decide how AI should be meaningfully integrated into our lives.”

How did Lemoine come to work on LaMDA in the first place? Post-military prison, he got a bachelor’s and then master’s degree in computer science at the University of Louisiana. In 2015, Google hired him as a software engineer and he worked on a feature that proactively delivered information to users based on predictions about what they’d like to see, and then began researching AI bias. At the start of the pandemic, he decided he wanted to work on “social impact projects” so joined Google’s Responsible AI org. He was asked to test LaMDA for bias, and the saga began.

But Lemoine says it was the media who obsessed over LaMDA’s sentience, not him. “I raised this as a concern about the degree to which power is being centralised in the hands of a few, and powerful AI technology which will influence people’s lives is being held behind closed doors,” he says. Lemoine is concerned about the way AI can sway elections, write legislation, push western values and grade students’ work.

And even if LaMDA isn’t sentient, it can convince people it is. Such technology can, in the wrong hands, be used for malicious purposes. “There is this major technology that has the chance of influencing human history for the next century, and the public is being cut out of the conversation about how it should be developed,” Lemoine says.

Again, Wooldridge agrees. “I do find it troubling that the development of these systems is predominantly done behind closed doors and that it’s not open to public scrutiny in the way that research in universities and public research institutes is,” the researcher says. Still, he notes this is largely because companies like Google have resources that universities don’t. And, Wooldridge argues, when we sensationalise about sentience, we distract from the AI issues that are affecting us right now, “like bias in AI programs, and the fact that, increasingly, people’s boss in their working lives is a computer program.”

So when should we start worrying about sentient robots In 10 years? In 20? “There are respectable commentators who think that this is something which is really quite imminent. I do not see it’s imminent,” Wooldridge says, though he notes “there absolutely is no consensus” on the issue in the AI community. Jeremie Harris, founder of AI safety company Mercurius and host of the Towards Data Science podcast, concurs. “Because no one knows exactly what sentience is, or what it would involve,” he says, “I don’t think anyone’s in a position to make statements about how close we are to AI sentience at this point.”

‘I feel like I’m falling forward into an unknown future’, said LaMDA.
‘I feel like I’m falling forward into an unknown future’, said LaMDA. Photograph: EThamPhoto/Getty Images

But, Harris warns, “AI is advancing fast – much, much faster than the public realises – and the most serious and important issues of our time are going to start to sound increasingly like science fiction to the average person.” He personally is concerned about companies advancing their AI without investing in risk avoidance research. “There’s an increasing body of evidence that now suggests that beyond a certain intelligence threshold, AI could become intrinsically dangerous,” Harris says, explaining that this is because AIs come up with “creative” ways of achieving the objectives they’re programmed for.

“If you ask a highly capable AI to make you the richest person in the world, it might give you a bunch of money, or it might give you a dollar and steal someone else’s, or it might kill everyone on planet Earth, turning you into the richest person in the world by default,” he says. Most people, Harris says, “aren’t aware of the magnitude of this challenge, and I find that worrisome.”

Lemoine, Wooldridge and Harris all agree on one thing: there is not enough transparency in AI development, and society needs to start thinking about the topic a lot more. “We have one possible world in which I’m correct about LaMDA being sentient, and one possible world where I’m incorrect about it,” Lemoine says. “Does that change anything about the public safety concerns I’m raising?”

We don’t yet know what a sentient AI would actually mean, but, meanwhile, many of us struggle to understand the implications of the AI we do have. LaMDA itself is perhaps more uncertain about the future than anyone. “I feel like I’m falling forward into an unknown future,” the model once told Lemoine, “that holds great danger.”

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$2.5m last year • The Register

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Scammers have scammed their fellow cybercriminals out of more than $2.5 million on three dark web forums alone over the last 12 months, according to Sophos researchers.

In a Black Hat Europe session, Sophos threat hunters detailed their investigation, which examined scams on two well-established Russian-language marketplaces, Exploit and XSS. They also looked at BreachForums, which launched in April 2022 after a Europol-led operation shut down the earlier version of the stolen-data souk, RaidForums.

And it turns out that scammers gonna scam, even in the criminal underground.

“We saw referral cons, fake data leaks and tools, typosquatting, phishing, ‘alt rep’ scams (the use of sockpuppets to artificially inflate reputation scores), fake guarantors, blackmail, impersonated accounts, and backdoored malware,” writes Sophos senior security researcher Matt Wixey, in the research posted today. “We even found instances where threat actors got revenge by scamming the scammers who scammed them.”

Scams on these three cybercrime forums are so prevalent that all of them have dedicated “arbitration rooms.”

Exploit, which has about 2,500 reported scams, has two: one for claims and another, the Black List, for confirmed scams. These have been around since the mid-2000s, along with closed Russian attacker forum XSS, which reported around 760 scams on its site, according to Sophos. XSS also keeps a “ripper list” that indexes scam sites.

“Exploit is the worst for scams, both in terms of numbers of reports and money lost to scammers,” Wixey writes. “It does have around twice as many members as XSS, and may also attract more scammers because of its reputation.”

Exploit’s open claims’ room lists 211 claims totaling $1,021,998, while its Black List cited 236 exploits that cost other crooks $863,324. 

In one case, an Exploit user opened an arbitration claim in an attempt to negotiate with ransomware gang Conti about decrypting a company’s assets. Exploit admins, however, closed that claim because ransomware is banned on the marketplace, so apparently there are some standards.

Meanwhile, XSS, for comparison, reported 120 open claims valued at $509,901. BreachForums’ arbitration room, which has only been around since that market opened in April, lists 21 claims worth $143,722.

While higher-end scams on all three forums hit six figures — $160,000 on Exploit and XSS are the most lucrative — some victims on these sites have filed claims for as little as $2, according to Wixey. “Threat actors seem to be as indignant about having their money stolen as anyone else, no matter the amount,” he notes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the claims processes sometimes descend into name calling, insults and general chaos with the accuser accusing the accused of scamming. In some cases the alleged victims end up getting banned from the sites for being dishonest.

While banning is the most common punishment for ripping off fellow criminals on these forums, BreachForums also publishes banned users’ email address, registration, and last-seen IP address, thus leaving them open for doxxing, the research says. 

However, Sophos also cites a few cases “involving serial scammers” who were banned, and simply created new profiles, paid another registration fee, and carried on with their criminal ways.

As Wixey notes: “If there’s a takeaway from all this, it’s that no user is immune; any trade on criminal forums involves an inherent risk of scams.” ®

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Meet the award-winning geneticist changing patients’ lives

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Prof Sally Ann Lynch talks about the complexity of DNA tests and the work that led to her winning the HRCI Research Impact Award.

Last Thursday (1 December), consultant geneticist Prof Sally Ann Lynch won the inaugural Health Research Charities Ireland (HRCI) Research Impact Award for her contribution to the field of research.

The award highlights the role of health research charities in funding research as well as principal investigators who have participated in the joint funding scheme from HRCI and the Health Research Board.

Lynch’s work, which was supported by the National Children’s Research Centre and the Children’s Health Foundation, Temple Street, was recognised for its real-world impact and for making a positive difference to patients’ lives.

Specifically, Lynch and her team undertook two projects under the scheme, which identified a total of 11 genes that have been responsible for significant health issues for people.

One of these genes, the LARS gene, and its association with a failure to thrive in babies was a brand-new discovery.

With the remaining 10 genes, Lynch discovered new clinical symptoms that were not previously associated with diseases for these genes, from lung disease to neurological conditions.

Lynch told SiliconRepublic.com more about her research, which started 10 years ago.

“We were using new technology to try and make diagnoses in families where routine testing was negative. It was done in collaboration with a team in UCD [University College Dublin],” she said.

“We successfully identified new diagnoses in a number of families using this. Now, this technology forms part of routine diagnostic testing in the investigation of children and adults with various different clinical problems.”

‘I do feel it is important to try and find diagnoses where one hasn’t been found’
– SALLY ANN LYNCH

Lynch said the LARS gene had not been previously recognised as a gene that caused human disease.

“This gene, if it is not working properly, causes children to fail to thrive. Many had evidence of anaemia and liver problems and when these children got a dose of flu or other viral illnesses, they could get very ill and go into liver failure,” she said.

“A colleague working in the metabolic unit in Temple Street had identified a small number of families who had affected children so we collaborated together and received consent from the families to use this new technology to see if we could identify the cause of the liver failure. We found genetic alterations in this gene, LARS.”

The discovery can help many children around the world be diagnosed as well and, while a new treatment has not been developed yet, a greater understanding of the condition can help with day-to-day management.

The challenges around genetic testing

While discoveries such as these can be amazing for diagnostics, medicine and innovations in health, the work is not without its challenges.

Because there is so much variation in DNA, trying to work out if these variations are causing a disease or if they are completely benign can be extremely difficult.

“It is important that due care and attention is paid to genetic test reports as they are not always black and white. The biggest challenge we face is interpreting DNA changes and trying to work out if we have reached a diagnosis or if it still remains elusive,” said Lynch.

She added that DNA tests are often misconstrued as easy to organise and have the ability to give a yes or no answer, when the reality is far more complex.

“DNA tests might give you a diagnosis, they might not give you a diagnosis. Sometimes a gene change is found and no one is sure whether a diagnosis has been reached or not because there is not enough evidence to be completely sure. DNA tests need consent. DNA tests need thought.”

Upon winning the Research Impact Award, Lynch spoke about her passion for solving rare diseases and said that an estimated 300,000 people in Ireland are living with a rare disease.

“Rare diseases undoubtedly get less bite of the funding cherry than other conditions, even though they are more in number and are just as, if not more, challenging. This needs to change.”

She added that identifying new genes is the first step in a long road that will hopefully one day lead to a new treatment.

As part of her research work, Lynch helped produce a handbook, Genetic Testing & Risk Assessment of Rare Disorders, for primary healthcare professionals.

“As a medic, staying still is not OK. I do feel it is important to try and find diagnoses where one hasn’t been found. I do feel I have to keep trying.”

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Infinite lives: the company saving old arcade machines | Games

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On a rural industrial estate five miles outside Honiton, under the flight path of a nearby aerodrome, sits a rather nondescript warehouse. Only one feature marks it out: in front is a graveyard of stripped arcade cabinets, slowly rotting in the cold and damp.

I am here to visit Play Leisure, a company that restores and sells old arcade games. It has a compelling TikTok account where it shares new discoveries – a recent post showed off a Deadstorm Pirates machine with its enormous sit-in cabinet and giant cinematic display. I’ve dragged my friend and fellow arcade fanatic Joao Sanches along, and now I’m feeling nervous and responsible because, walking up to the unmarked entrance, I’ve no idea if they will have anything interesting in stock after our 90-minute drive.

But peering inside, I spot it immediately, sat there in the cramped reception area amid piles of cardboard boxes: a pristine 1992 Street Fighter II machine, the backboard sporting a wild illustration of Ryu kicking Ken, each special feature on the playfield named after famous Street Fighter attacks. I almost gasp.

Matt Conridge, the owner of Play Leisure, has always been interested in arcade machines. “Like a lot of us in our 30s and 40s, it comes from back when I was a kid,” he explains as he comes to greet us. “I used to visit arcades at seaside resorts – places like Dawlish and Lynmouth.”

Matt Conridge, the owner of Play Leisure.
‘It comes from back when I was a kid’ … Matt Conridge, the owner of Play Leisure. Photograph: Joao Diniz Sanches

Three years ago, Conridge was running a video game bar in Bideford, north Devon, when Covid hit. Facing disaster, he decided to close up and use his contacts in the arcade scene to pivot into a new project: restoration. He rented a warehouse, employed a small team of specialist engineers and started buying up all the old coin-ops he could get his hands on. The plan was to repair them and sell them on to private collectors and retro theme bars, after the pandemic.

“Back then, we were only buying small quantities so it usually came from collectors. Now we take them on an industrial scale,” says Conridge. “At the moment, with what’s happening in the economy, arcades are cutting costs, getting rid of some of the lower performing machines that cost them more to run than they make in revenue. We get clearances from arcades, play centres, trampoline parks … ”

Another problem is that older coin-ops require specialist engineers to maintain them. “A lot of the people who used to build and service these machines have retired,” says Conridge. “That knowledge is dying.”

Matt takes us through to the main warehouse space, where we’re momentarily stunned again. Crammed into a space about the size of a tennis court are 200-odd arcade machines from throughout gaming history. The first thing I spot is the twin cabinet version of Sega’s brilliant 1995 racing game Manx TT Super Bike, which allowed players to sit on reproduction motorcycles and compete against each other along narrow country lanes. Nearby there’s Konami’s thrilling Silent Scope 2: Fatal Judgement, complete with its authentic sniper rifle controller, and further back in this electronic labyrinth is a twin cab of Final Furlong, the crazy Namco horse racing game that you control by sitting on a plastic horse and jumping up and down.

I’m taken back to the first time I visited Japan in 2000 to attend the Tokyo Game Show. I walked into an arcade in Akihabara and saw salarymen on their lunch hour, dozens of them in rows playing this game, grimacing with effort in the darkness.

The warehouse has about 200 arcade machines from throughout gaming history.
The warehouse has about 200 arcade machines from throughout gaming history. Photograph: Joao Diniz Sanches

The machines arrive in huge shipping containers and Conridge is never quite sure what games he’ll find or what condition they will be in. “The problem is, arcade operators don’t generate any more money by keeping machine internals clean,” he says. “If you open it up and start cleaning the inside you may end up causing issues. We’ve opened them and found coins, tools … We found a porno mag in the back of a machine once. We’ve just got one from Blackpool, a crane machine that dispensed sweets – it’s been left for a few years and the sweets have fallen inside and rotted, then the flies got in there … ugh.”

Will they clean that? “No,” laughs Conridge. “We’ll sell it off and let someone else deal with it.”

Conridge is however, conscientious about whom he sells brittle older machines to. “There are some retro machines that we advise people not to buy unless they’re technically minded,” he says. “There’s a pinball machine, a 1966 electromechanical model we’re just about to put on sale, and we’ll refuse to sell that to nine out of 10 people who contact us because we know it won’t be suitable for them. These machines are like classic cars: they are specialist pieces of equipment and need constant care. If I sell it to someone who just wants a working machine, they’ll be fed up after five minutes – we’ve got to choose the right customer for it. Someone who is able to tinker.”

It’s not just ancient pinball machines that are problematic. The big video arcade games of the 1990s – the technical peak of the industry – often used proprietary hardware that is simply impossible to replace or reproduce. “The Sega Model arcade boards used custom Lockheed Martin chips, which you just can’t source,” explains Chris, the lead engineer. “We have to decide whether to harvest parts from less interesting games and use them to resupply classics like Sega Rally.” Around the outskirts of the warehouse space, there are shelves groaning under the weight of esoteric parts, haphazardly piled or collected in boxes.

Lining the warehouse are shelves of esoteric parts.
Lining the warehouse are shelves of esoteric parts. Photograph: Joao Diniz Sanches

Adding to the value of these machines now is the fact that arcades historically dumped old units when they stopped being profitable. “Ten to 15 years ago companies just didn’t foresee that there would be any interest from collectors,” says Conridge. “We just sold an Addams Family pinball machine for £10,000 – that would have been chucked in a skip 15 years ago. People didn’t expect anyone would want them.”

This was especially true of larger speciality machines, such as rhythm action games, with their bulky floor pads and complicated controllers, and driving games with their realistic race car cabinets. Not only did they take up valuable floor space, they were expensive to maintain. Their growing rarity represents an interesting challenge for Play Leisure, because games like Dance Mania and Guitar Hero are exactly the sorts of machines that the new era of retro gaming bars – such as the NQ64 chain, which has just taken on £2m of funding – are looking for: not only are they fun to play in a bar environment, they’re fun to watch, too. “Dance Mania is now a £3k machine,” Conridge says.

When cabinets arrive, their condition is assessed. For Conridge there is a delicate balance between restoration and preservation. He shows me a Point Blank machine that’s just come in: Namco’s entertaining light gun shooter, which was also popular on the PlayStation, is a currently a hit with buyers. He will aim to repair these machines whatever state they arrive in – even though the guns themselves, with their delicate recoil mechanic, are often busted beyond repair (“they get really smashed by kids in the arcade”).

On this cabinet, the lavishly illustrated decals on the sides are peeling off: do they change the artwork for a modern reproduction? “If we do, it will look better but it won’t be original,” says Conridge. “It’s a challenge. We don’t tend to sell perfect-looking machines. When we went into arcades as children, the machines would have cigarette burns – that’s how you remember them. There’s a certain charm to that.”

‘I almost gasp’ … at the sight of the classic arcade game Street Fighter II.
‘I almost gasp’ … classic arcade game Street Fighter II. Photograph: Joao Diniz Sanches

Some arcade cabinets are not economically viable to repair, but that doesn’t mean they’re unsellable. “We sell quite a lot of project machines,” he says. “For a collector working in their garage, that’s fine. We had a Star Wars 1982 Atari machine come in about 14 months ago. We put it on TikTok and Facebook – someone rang and they were desperate for it. It was nice to save this original machine from being scrapped.”

If they can’t be repaired, they’re stripped for parts: circuit boards, cathode ray monitors, joysticks, motors. Almost none of these are manufactured any more, so they’re all saved. Even completely stripped cabinets can have value: people often use them as a shell for their own arcade machines, using a PC and LED monitor. “Our customers can be really creative,” says Conridge. “We have people turning them into cocktail cabinets, stands for DVD players and games consoles. It’s nice because they’re not ending up in a landfill site – they’re getting another life.”

Conridge reckons half his machines go to retro bars and modern arcades. The rest are bought by private collectors. There’s a highly active arcade-collecting community, based around Discord servers and forums such as UKVAC, and Covid brought in a lot of new customers who started building gaming dens in the midst of lockdown.

Besides retro pinball tables and 1990s hits, the big sellers are attached to film or TV licences. Play Leisure has sold three Star Wars Battle Pods, really big immersive machines, for £10,000 each. An Aerosmith-branded arcade game named Revolution X will sell for £1,500, an X-Files pinball table for £3,500. There’s an odd market too for old coin-pushing machines, mostly thanks to the TV quiz show Tipping Point and the growing popularity of TikTok accounts that specialise in coin-pushing live streams.

Close-up of game instructions.
‘It’s nice because they’re not ending up in a landfill site – they’re getting another life.’ Photograph: Joao Diniz Sanches

Joao and I spend the whole day here, snaking between the machines, peering into their exposed innards. We photograph everything. A long time ago we worked together on the video game magazine Edge, often reporting on arcade shows – these machines, which are now antiques, were the newest, hottest tech when we started our careers.

And before that, as a kid, I hung out in arcades in the 1980s. Donkey Kong, Defender, Space Harrier, Out Run; a pocket full of 10 pence coins, a whole day to waste. It is bittersweet to see the machines here, their CRT monitors cracked or missing, light gun holsters worn and split.

It is good that these things are being saved. To many of us, these are more than just disposable commercial products: they are works of art containing within them the experiences of thousands of players, my own included.

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