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Blue eating Error

A harmless computer virus that raised inside my computer, and viewers can feed it through telegram bot. It only eats “blue” stuff. Blue-less messages will be vomited.

produced by: Uchan Sun



Recently, I grow great interest in research related to artificial life(AL). Compared to AI, it pays more attention to biological perception. In my understanding, AL may not be smart, but it must contain the basic functionalities of organisms: metabolism, growth, reproduction ... Ian Cheng ’s BOB Is an example that I really like. Every viewer who passes by the work can participate in the feeding of creatures. At present, whether it is AI or AL, whether it is software or virtual characters in games, these potential silicon-based creatures are basically housed in the "computer fish tank" or virtual ecosystem (screen) we set.


So can they break through the fish tank and invade reality under our feeding? In fact, many computer viruses have done that: break free of the constraints of the original system and resist the control of the administrator or even the network. It is undeniable that many viruses have caused great harm. Although we should condemned those developers, the concept isstill  very fascinating to me, because I have a similar idea with researchers like Farmer Belin, thinking that computer viruses are also a kind of creature, and it has the ability to sneak from a controlled platform into an uncontrolled backstage - this ability to live between dimensions through algorithms is really fascinating to me.

So I hope to raise a creature that can communicate across platforms, so I chose chatbot technology. For me, language communication is not only as easy and natural as daily chat, but also symbolizes the highest level of intelligence-of course, currently my bot can only be pre-scripted, but I hope that through text communication, players can feel that intimacy.



How to feed

Why eat blue? Because blue used to represent error like blue screen, so now, the error can eat blue color, which made the creature a self-devourer like Uroboros.

Through telegram bot, viewers can feed the creature by message containing “blue” part like “blue sky” or “blue snake eating white rabbit”. I choosed telegram as the entry point because it provided simple and clear API.

Last year, the teacher left a very interesting assignment in the Processing course. Making a clock without hands, minutes, seconds, or numbers. In short, your clock needs to show the passage of time, but not act like a regular clock.

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So I made a "clock": a new window pops up every second, and the time is measured by the brightness and the red pop-up window. This can be an abstract expression of time with the concept of another dimension. We used the program frame to draw traces of time on the screen. The pop-up window feels a bit like the computer virus of the last century and the browser when the cache overflowed, so I decided to continue this form.


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Due to the limited time and my unmatured skills in coding, the workflow is complicated. Basically I finish message saving/parsing works in other platforms, and use OF for the final performance. For multiple window effects, I use ofAppBaseWindows class.

I once send GET request to telegram bot with Processing directly, but this method cause 4-6 seconds delay, and in this case bot cannot have any response since there’s no script behind it. Using google’s service needs to fix OSC issue since p5.js doesn't support OSC directly, but fortunately I got satisfied real-time performance between mobile messaging and the OF program.



Further development

If I have enough time, I will definetely add the image processing function to the virus. Users can send image and the virus will gradually wipe off the blue color and grow bigger. There’s so much perspective to explore in the field of artificial life, so I plan to do more research about how to build the biological function to electronic creatures, even the only component of it is digits. 




 “osc-websocket-example” avantcontra.

“osc.js” colinbdclark.

“TelegramBot | Firebase + Google Apps Script” Joker Wu.

“Multiple windows, openFrameworks” JUNKIYOSHI.

‘Ian Cheng’. Accessed 8 May 2020.

The Garden in the Machine: The Emerging Science of Artificial Life. New Ed edition. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1996.