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Novamente has announced it will be showing a “teachable virtual companion” (virtual pet) in conjunction with the Electric Sheep Company at the Virtual Worlds Conference in San Jose in October 2007.

These virtual pets are being designed to interact with avatars in virtual worlds such as Second Life. The pets are designed with certain goals (seek food, get exercise, avoid danger, seek new experiences, a strong instinct to imitate behavior), and can receive love from their owners and others. They “learn” by statistical and probabilistic methods. The pets can even learn things from each other and exhibit group behavior per a 13 Sept 2007  report in Digital Trends.

Designing virtual pets for virtual worlds is said to be more straightforward than creating physical / robotic pets for the “real” world because you only have to interact with a database instead of trying to observe what is around you, interpret it, and react to it. For example, in Second Life, the database requires no interpretation, the pet will know what is going on around it.

Novamente has provided a tech sheet  over viewing their new Artificial Life technology called Novamente Virtual Pet (NVP) which calls for a product launch in 2008.

Early tests were done with rabbit and dog modules. A subscription cost of $3 per month is anticipated and since the pets actually reside on Novamente servers, the same pet can be ported to multiple virtual worlds for the same owner.

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