Desi Quintans

Sydney, Australia

About Desi

Bio

I was a pastry chef, but have since gone back to university to study science (I'd like to work on virology). I am into typewriters and fountain pens and The Good Old Days, although video games and software programming are cool, too.

When not programming web software or playing PC games, I read lots of books. I complete perhaps 1-3 books per week.

An idea worth spreading

That we can always earn more money, but can never earn more time.

I'm passionate about

Books and eBooks
Gardening
Creative activities

Comments & conversations

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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Can technology replace human intelligence?
Except you'd have to treat a machine completely as a human in order for it to have the human experiences necessary for it to be able to know what's important and what can be ignored when it comes to having novel ideas. I think any future where we seriously consider treating machines like people before we've gotten around to treating people more like people is one that is ill-considered.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Can technology replace human intelligence?
I think technology can augment human intelligence, but never replace it. There are a lot of useful things that computers can and already do help us with (maths and information retention are the big ones -- imagine having Wikipedia instantly searchable and streaming directly into your brain), but the most important part of solving any problem is asking the right question in the first place, and only human intuition and experience can really get you there.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?
A similar decision was in Skyrim. There was a cave full of bandits, and the bandit leader had given his old, blind grandfather the job of being a lookout at the cave entrance. When you entered the cave you could impersonate a bandit if you knew one of their names, or you could kill them. If you impersonated a bandit he'd let you through without fighting you. Everyone else in the cave, naturally, was hostile. After wiping out the entire bandit group I went past the old man on my way out. I couldn't really leave him there all alone in the dark, everyone else dead. I dumped a bunch of food on the table in front of him and left. Others I know killed the guy so he wouldn't starve to death alone.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?
The right video games can be life-affirming and educational, and not just in the books-and-learnin' kind of way. Video games (even single-player ones) are also a general common ground for males of all ages, and in fact are becoming one of the safest and most fun ways for young people to interact. In the old days you'd get the gang and go bowling or go to the movies, and these days you gather around and play a nice multiplayer game. I read in your previous replies that you've noticed that kids who play video games get really antsy and jumpy at school, but this is normal after a child has engaged with any kind of exciting media like movies or games. What's important to remember is that they're still in the realm of play, and simply need to be reminded to get back in the real world. That's why certain previous studies re. the effects of video games on violence have been so unconvincing: if you tell a kid to play a violent video game, and then ask them to punch a punching bag, that's still within the consequence-free terms of play. The real test would be to observe the child's behaviour in normal life. You shouldn't let your kid play ten hours straight of games, but they're really not bad at all. Another idea is to look through the stuff at http://www.gog.com , which sells classic PC games from yesteryear. These games are often much better than the newer stuff they make, being both less visually violent (if at all), and exhibiting better writing, better pacing, and an overall better experience than newer games. It would be like comparing a novel to a tabloid. The independent game scene is also blossoming on the PC, where many lovely games are being made. The go-to place for that is Steam or Desura, both digital distribution systems for video games.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?
I'm coming back to nominate Far Cry 2. It is perhaps the purest game-as-art example I know. Outwardly it's a plain old manshooting game, but it's something more. The game masterfully blends the detritus of a forgotten conflict with the gorgeous savannah, savage, amoral fighting with moments of kindness and humanity. Even the parts of the game that are not so good serve to emphasise the unspoken themes of the game: the checkpoints respawn as soon as you get a few hundred metres away from them, which is annoying, but so what? You just kill them all over again. More faceless bodies thrown into an endless war with no beginning. Explicity, Far Cry 2 explores the existence of violence and its application. The antagonist, The Jackal, says: "You can't break a man the way you do a dog or a horse, the harder you beat a man, the taller he stands. To break a man's will, to break his spirit, you have to break his mind. Men have this idea that we can fight with dignity, that there's a proper way to kill someone. It's absurd, its aesthetic, we need it to endure the bloody horror of murder. You must destroy that idea, show them what a messy horrible thing it is to kill a man, and then show them that you relish in it. Shoot the wound, and then execute the wounded, burn them, take them in close combat. Destroy their preconceptions of what a man is and become their personal monster. When they fear you, you become stronger, you become better. But let's never forget, it's a display, it's a posture, like a lions roar, or a gorilla thumping at his chest. If you lose yourself in the display, if you succumb to the horror, then you become the monster. You become reduced, not more than a man, but less. And it could be fatal." There is a better, fuller write-up for Far Cry 2 at http://infovore.org/archives/2008/12/22/africa-wins-again , but I implore all of you to try it for yourselves. It can be had cheap on Steam. Sometimes it's a difficult game to like, but it's an easy game to respect.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?
This is exactly why I am incapable of playing The Sims. I always make only one sim, and I make him as similar to myself as possible. And I would watch this Me learn how to paint, watch him learn how to grow nice vegetables, watch him make whoopee and get married, and I would sit there and think, "Shit, I can do that too. Instead of spending a couple of hours watching my sim rank up in Guitar, I could actually learn a little guitar." So for making you get up off your bum and actually make something of yourself, I agree that The Sims is an excellent game.
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Desi Quintans
Posted over 2 years ago
Which video game has challenged your perspective on the way you live your life and how?
I was a beta tester for the game that Butterfield and friends made before Glitch, called The Game Neverending. It had a wonderful community made up of geeks and technologists, and it was basically a chatroom with a cool game attached. We'd talk about all kinds of interesting and deep topics, and everyone online would participate. It was a wonderful thing to have growing up, and I'm glad they've still got that vibe going in Glitch.