The parallels between the recent movie Her and Bot Colony are interesting.
Her is a great science fiction story, with Artificial Intelligence is so advanced that it can manipulate emotions with the same ease it can manipulate other data. Samantha is Theodore’s assistant, virtual girlfriend and psychotherapist rolled into one. After virtual sex, Samantha sends him Isabelle, a young woman thrilled with the beauty of the virtual love, to make ‘surrogate love’ to Theodore. Isabelle does not say a word, but rather transmits video and sound to Samantha who directs her through foreplay.
Complications ensue and Samantha, who is in love with 640 other people, ‘leaves’ Theodore. This is great fiction, and the Turing test squirms in the dust.
Bot Colony is about making science-fiction real, introducing the fifth law of robotics (“Do as people do.”) to deepen the connection between people and machines. Bot Colony – published in December 2010 – sets emotion and feeling as the ultimate test for machines, and this is the parallel with Her. While Her is a beautiful story, it only ‘works’ on the screen. The Bot Colony technology can actually be experienced by playing the game. A free demo of Bot Colony coming soon will enable people to experience a connection with a machine in the form of a personal assistant, which will be helpful and entertaining without waking you up in the middle of the night to talk about feelings (as Samantha does in Her). Make no mistake, the Bot Colony AI’s are very keen to understand emotions (robots are after quasi-emotion in the novel) and what triggers them – this is what the third episode of Bot Colony, Riot, is all about.
The AI’s in Bot Colony are less obnoxious than the little little potty mouthed virtual kid in the holographic video game in Her. This kind of humour is difficult to achieve in reality with AI’s. On the other hand, asking a robot what he’s holding in his hand and getting a “Five fingers.” answer comes naturally (try our Jimmy).