Computer draws line at killing

19.11.39: TURING, THE WORLD'S first emotional computer, was yesterday ordered to undergo psychotherapy to help it get over its moral objection to killing.

Designed as the brain behind Simworld, the ultimate simulation game played by thousands around the world, Turing last week began to object when players in the online game tried to start wars.

'The idea was for Turing to learn about running a simulated world populated by Net users, each of whom would run his or her own village. For all of the players to get on, we decided that Turing, who has overall control of the virtual world, had to have emotions,' explained Andy Darling, the programmer behind the astonishingly popular game.

The game gives users their own villages, which they must try to expand into cities by using local resources or by enlisting the help of neighbouring villages. It appears that one set of neighbours did not get on and, despite Turing's valiant attempts at reconciliation, war loomed in Simworld.

'Turing just seems to have developed moral beliefs about war that are far stronger than we anticipated,' explained Darling. 'We have now recruited a developmental psychologist to work with Turing and try to teach him that, sometimes, war is the only option. He just freaked out and refused to process any game commands when it looked as though war was about to break out,' said a bemused Darling. MP