Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nonhumanoid AI's and their implications.

I was poring over the twitter one night and hear a single comment from Nash ‏@Nash076 that got me thinking with the following post:

Why are writers always so arrogant as to believe if we create AI, it's going to qualify and quantify its existence as measured by ours?

I responded with the following:

@Nash076 because otherwise we have no gauge to work with.
Until we have an AI, we are speculating and just like alien life, we use us.

Shortly there after, nash posted on his blog

While not a direct reply, I began to stew on how we can get a more non human perspective while still being empathetic.

so here goes nothing.

1. Tools:  star wars has a great AI, in the form of a utility robot: namely r2d2.  This plucky droid is a glorified trashcan with pop out tools, but has a ton of personality in spite of being essentially a tool with a specific function

other examples include toys (small soldiers), processing robots (wal-e), and even weapons (johnny 5 of short circuit is always a favourite in this regard)

2. A Face.  If a face is blatantly non-human, it still needs a focus point for humans to lock onto.  lip lights are common, but also metal flanges that can simulate lips, feet, etc.

3. Vehicles - one of the greatest AIs of all time doesn't come from a humanoid body, but from a car.
I of course am referring to the knight 2000.

It is blatantly non-human, but seems to have a certain degree of autonomy, snarkiness and even is considered a "buddy" to the main character Michael Knight.

hell, a star ship AI is fairly common and might even have an avatar so, if an rpg, the ship's computer can go on adventures as well.

4. Housing:  An AI is more likely to be based on a building then a humanoid form.  One of my most favourite examples of this is A.R.C.H.I.E. 3 of Rifts fame.  he is a housing unit about the size of a toaster that projects his own worries, fears and ambitions by considering the base he is built on as his own body.  Furthermore, he has low self esteem and requires an "idea man"  to help him project.

Jarvis is another.  Jarvis is his butler and nothing more then disembodied voice that attends to most of Tony Stark's requirements.  yet he has a human quality that make us weep for him when he's trashed by ultron in avengers 2.

it wouldn't be that hard to re-purpose such an ai as a hospital, manufacturing plant or business office and have it project over the speakers.

4. base it on another life form: an ai based on bread mould is going to come out much differently then one based on the humanoid form.  How would such an ai interact with it's environment?  How does it get it's energy requirements?  How does it repair itself?

How about a pet?  Take your pet cat and dog and instead make it a robot.  Heck we already have it with furbys.

I'm going to explore these concepts in more details in my upcoming book, Dark Revelations - The Role Playing Game - Book of Progress, but ultimately the question that must be asked is how inhuman can you make an AI before it loses any attachment to the audience?

In 2001, Hal was blatantly a housing AI on a satellite and laid down the primal fear of an ai gone wrong.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's why AI have stayed humanoid more often then not if meant to be a primary character.

how can we make an AI blatantly inhuman, while still being able to play off both the cast and audience?

 I'd love to hear your responses.

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