Charles River Scooter AI Video Game
I had a nice run this morning around the Charles River. It’s a version of a run I’ve done many times in the past when I used to live here.
There was one “category” of problem, which I’ll refer to as the Scooter-Bike challenge.
I started at 8:52am, which was at the absolute peak of the “rush to get to work/class/wherever” experience. I didn’t think much about it as I often run at this time in Colorado and rarely notice any humans.
I started at the Charles Hotel, turned right, and headed toward the Charles River zone. 30 years ago, I would have noticed the cars, but not thought much about anything else.
I hit a wall of scooters coming at me with humanoids on them. There were a few bikes, but most were in the street. But the scooters were on the sidewalk. Going 20+ miles per hour. Right at me. In a wall.
I immediately realized that I was in an AI video game called Scooter Bike Runner Survivor. Kind of like rock paper scissors, but involving actual humans. The AIs were controlling us from a parallel universe, kind of the way I used to play Defender or Tempest.
The first fifteen minutes of the run were nuts. I figured that when I got over the bridge onto the Charles River loop paralleling Storrow Drive it would calm down. Nope.
When I crossed the BU Bridge at the halfway point, I hit another wall of treachery. This time it was cyclists who decided that the bridge, sidewalk, and path was a lot more fun to be on than Memorial Drive. There were a few stretches of human-created single track next to the sidewalk that regularly ended abruptly with big orange cones blocking them.
I’m safely back in my room having survived Scooter Bike Runner Survivor, but I’ve recalibrated my expectation around a casual bridge loop around 9am.