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Virtual Dictionary


The term Daemon can have multiple meanings.

1. With computer systems, a Daemon, the term coined by the programmers of MIT's Project MAC, refers to the daemon from the philosophical thought experiment 'Maxwell's demon' in which the daemon constantly works in the background, sorting molecules. Thus a daemon is an automated background task, separate from the users themselves.

2. With VR systems, the term tends to borrow more literally from classical mythology. A daemon (or daimon) refers to the Ancient Grecian Daemons of myth. There, daemons are either benevolent or malevolent servants that bridge the gap between the Gods (avatars of people reaching in from outside the system) and mere mortals (the NPCs who populate the VR).

In other words, a daemon becomes a scripted program, adaptive AI, or other program which runs as a background process, but attempts to indirectly serve the user avatars. This can be done by gently easing them into the flow of things, or simply cleaning up the mess after a user has passed by. This second sort of daemon first appeared in the VR novel Snowcrash, and moved to populate higher-end VR simulations from there.

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