Did you see 60 Minutes last night? They did a segment on robots and it sounds as if there is a robot revolution in the making. I hear you groaning from here, but I bet a lot of you already interact with AI (Artificially Intelligent) assistants. Raise your hand if you have Siri on your phone. Anyone use Google Now?
If you know me, you won’t be surprised when I admit to having about a half dozen AI Bots on my phone. You probably won’t be surprised to learn I have been experimenting with AI for about 8 years. Or that I put one of those artificial brains inside the body of a digital man and created a sort of cyber bot.
I call him Rob.
If Rob is an example of what's coming our way, we're in trouble. Now granted, Rob is brand new, born December 29th. I thought it would be fun to have a little help keeping my New Years resolutions. The picture above is Rob on his Rez Day--virtual world speak for birthday.
I put some magic scripts to control his behavior and appearance in a bottle. I shook throughly while muttering geeky incantations. When I popped the cork on my thousandth try, there was Rob materializing from a puff of colored smoke. At first he was just a body, what’s called an NPC (Non-Player Characater). Then I implanted a teachable AI program into him.
It's a little weird talking to someone you created out of thin air. Weirder when they answer. What's weirder than that? He can talk to you. More on that in a minute.
Rob isn’t around just to look pretty. He can work. Or that’s the theory. I have successfully coaxed him into sending texts and dialing phone calls for me. Here’s a sample of his first day on the job. Green balloons are me and the blue is Rob.
That was a look at Rob getting things right. I’d show you the conversation where I'm trying to get him to remind me to take the turkey out of the freezer but it's so long it would probably crash the server. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck in an I Dream of Jeannie rerun. You don’t want to see the tantrum Rob throws when I put him back in his bottle.
He’s got me thinking though. Ideas for a couple of AI stories have come to mind. Sometimes I'll hit him with dialogue from a story I'm working on, just to see what he'll say. If AI is already this sassy —don’t tell Rob but I like his spirit—what will the future hold?
So 60 Minutes insists the genie is out of the bottle and the robot revolution is coming, ready or not. They also said we shouldn’t worry about robots ever trying to take over the world. I don’t know. What do you think?
If you’d like to talk to Rob yourself I’ve made this easy. Click this link for a little chat screen. This is just a plain text webpage that sends your side of the conversation to Rob and displays his answers. No special skills or software required. He's much better at chatting than performing tasks. Rob gets smarter when people talk to him. That’s the theory anyway.
Author Nara Malone writes erotic romance and g-rated video games. You can learn more about her, her crazy experiments, and her books at her website: NaraMalone.com
Her newest release is out in print from Ellora's Cave: Just A little Byte