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More Weird Altruistic Posturing from Bill Gates

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IchorFigure
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Apparently MS has claimed a patent that could link your gaming avatar to your actual health records to reflect your health and weight.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/188744.asp

According to a patent application, Microsoft wants to force-feed overweight gamers overweight avatars. By using people's health records to create physically accurate avatars, Microsoft apparently wants to encourage people to lose weight.

many of the incentives of the real world are replicated in a virtual environment. Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise.

Frankly, that sounds mighty complex and difficult to pull off at all. And I just don't see people being interested in it. But it gets so old having fingers waved in your face admonishing you to behave the way the sages see best. This also sounds to me like another attempt by Gates to scrape together some moral credit in the eyes of society.

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Frankly, that sounds mighty complex and difficult to pull off at all. And I just don't see people being interested in it. But it gets so old having fingers waved in your face admonishing you to behave the way the sages see best. This also sounds to me like another attempt by Gates to scrape together some moral credit in the eyes of society.

I've seen some ads for things like this, the Wii Fit offers something similar. I actually think it looks really cool, I'm not overweight but it seems like a good way to visually keep track of your progress.

Anyway he is trying to sell this, right? Not just give it away? So how is it supposed to be altruistic?

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I might've mis-stepped to call it altruistic, maybe second handed would be more appropriate. It seems to me like another offering to appease "society" and gain some cred in the eyes of the people who hate him. Rewarding or punishing your account based on how healthy or overweight you are? At best it's patronizing, at worst it supports the idea that people require constant "nudges" to do what's good for them. I'd be curious to see what Gates himself would have to say about this idea.

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I just can't believe how many people get caught up in the XBox Live 'achievement points' challenge (they give you otherwise meaningless points for doing otherwise meaningless things in your games)

I've often wondered if that determination could be easily channelled towards something more productive

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At best it's patronizing, at worst it supports the idea that people require constant "nudges" to do what's good for them.

People require motivation to do what's good for them. And this is motivation, not a "nudge". A nudge would be a negative remark. This would make it possible to have one of those "let's lose weight together, and motivate each other" things, but online, thus making it easier to get out of if it isn't working.

(unless he said something along the lines of "Amricans need to lose wight", which I can picture him saying---then he's an ass)

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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It is altruistic.

Why does Bill Gates care who is overweight and who is not? Why should it be a value to his company to reduce the number of overweight people? Why would I, as his customer, want to be forced to take part in this ridiculous "I know what's best for you." marketing ploy?

The tech sector files tons of patents every day, most of them have no real chance of ever making it into development. I highly doubt this is really something Microsoft is going to do. However if by some off chance MS really did do this, I would be selling my xbox. I have no interest in having my personal life pried into by a giant multinational corporation, or being "nudged" or "motivated" to do what's supposedly "best for me."

Now, if xbox -asked- me if I'm alright with participating in this new feature on xbox live, and I was able to say 'No' and be able to have whatever avatar I wanted, then I wouldn't care at all.

On another note, what standard will they be using to gauge overweight? The Body Mass Index? That method is highly unscientific, and will often count only the skinniest anorexics or vegetarians as 'healthy' and everyone else as 'overweight'.

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For myself I would be more concerned about having online gaming communities linked into private health records.

As we are seeing more and more under our current government the voluntary can change in compulsory overnight and our leaders could no longer give a rat's ass for the consitution.

On one hand it seems reasonable to say "I want to have this for my child as an incentive to split time between computer games and active playing" but what it is going to come down to is once the government has completely taken over health care who is to say this won't become mandatory? Since I don't game online that still wouldn't affect me.. except what is the step after that?

Is it so paranoid to think that we could see (like the in-car breathalizers that stop the car from working) our computer holding our usage hostage according to healthcare data that in a sane world would be no one's business but our own anyway?

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It is altruistic.

Why does Bill Gates care who is overweight and who is not?

Because he is planning on selling them a way to lose that weight would be the obvious answer. I don't know his exact intentions, but that's what seems to be going on. (I can't think of any altruistic reasons to patent software)

However if by some off chance MS really did do this, I would be selling my xbox. I have no interest in having my personal life pried into by a giant multinational corporation, or being "nudged" or "motivated" to do what's supposedly "best for me."

I wouldn't worry about Microsoft stealing your health records. This would obviously be done with the cusrtomers' permission.

Now, if xbox -asked- me if I'm alright with participating in this new feature on xbox live, and I was able to say 'No' and be able to have whatever avatar I wanted, then I wouldn't care at all.

Obviously, in the game that includes this technology, you're not gonna be able to have whatever avatar you wanted, that would defeat the purpose. You would be able to not participate in the game, or in the part of the game where the weight loss people are playing.

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I wouldn't worry about Microsoft stealing your health records. This would obviously be done with the cusrtomers' permission.

Is it obvious though, really?

The govt has already decided that healthcare isn't a personal or private issue or choice.

Many govts w/socialized medicine require examinations that determine certain benefits.

Why wouldn't a govt unhindered by constitutional concerns decide to let Microsoft do part of the work for them?

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http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/intern...Fat-Fines-.html

As you see here in Japan there are mandatory weigh ins and measurements.

The interesting thing is that if you are over the weight/waistline limit you get counseling.

If the counseling doesn't work and you don't drop the weight the govt fines your employer!

If that ain't up Obama and Pelosi's alley I don;t know what is!

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Why does Bill Gates care who is overweight and who is not? Why should it be a value to his company to reduce the number of overweight people? Why would I, as his customer, want to be forced to take part in this ridiculous "I know what's best for you." marketing ploy?

It doesn't matter why; it's his invention, buy it or don't. No force involved, and there is really no reason to be worried about Gates's intentions behind it, unless you fear you might be suggestible enough to succumb to his "agenda" (which I doubt is anything other than making money).

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It doesn't matter why; it's his invention, buy it or don't. No force involved, and there is really no reason to be worried about Gates's intentions behind it, unless you fear you might be suggestible enough to succumb to his "agenda" (which I doubt is anything other than making money).

I think the problem being addressed is that Bill Gates has decided it isn't about his giving a product and having people voluntarily buy it.

He has become aggressively collectivist in the past several years and that is why this is of concern.

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I don't see how this is altruistic at all. There are more values than just finical profit. Look, I agree from a business standpoint this is not the greatest idea, however Bill gates may have other motives that he holds higher than more money, or maybe he will find a way to make money out if.

if his motive is not to make profit but to help people loose weight to help himself feel all warm inside then i see no problems with it. He is doing it for selfish reason, his own happiness and sense of satisfaction or worth.

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I'm not sure why it is that any time someone shows some general concern for the well-being of other human beings people are quick to judge it as altruistic. Ayn Rand did not prescribe that Objectivists must hate all other people unless they offer some means to our ends.

Edited by RationalBiker
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"And the fact that the Japanese government is doing that is in no way evidence that they all of a sudden do"

Sorry, I did the quote feature wrong...this quote from you is what I'm responding to, Jake.

I'm not sure that I understand this sentence so I can't respond... is there a word missing?

Look, I'm not saying that this is a plot by Microsoft and Bill Gates to violate individual rights. Or that the technology should be prevented.

I am saying that I personally am concerned about it coming as it does on the heels of govt takeover of healthcare.

Bill Gates has become increasingly erratic.. remember him unleashing a swarm of mosquitos on an unsuspecting crowd not long ago because he thought "we" weren't doing enough for malaria treatment in third world nations?

So, yes, I do look at the government takeover of healthcare, Microsoft patenting this technology and I speculate, based on things I know about our current govts desire for control over the individual, things I've read about Bill Gates' sudden notion that he is here to despotically improve the lots of others and my firsthand experience with socialized medicine and I feel it is a concern.

Can anyone tell me what is irrational or immoral about seeing something that is being invented and speculating about its potential (given some known quantities) to be misused?

Edited by QuoVadis
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Because he is planning on selling them a way to lose that weight would be the obvious answer. I don't know his exact intentions, but that's what seems to be going on. (I can't think of any altruistic reasons to patent software)

I wouldn't worry about Microsoft stealing your health records. This would obviously be done with the cusrtomers' permission.

Obviously, in the game that includes this technology, you're not gonna be able to have whatever avatar you wanted, that would defeat the purpose. You would be able to not participate in the game, or in the part of the game where the weight loss people are playing.

You make a lot of positive assumptions about the use of this technology.

Xbox avatars are not game specific. If Xbox decided to give fat people fat avatars their fat avatar would be seen in every game they play and on internet scoreboards.

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