Spielberg approves of pending robot apocalypse

Why, Steven? WHY?

Remember our post about IBM’s latest supercomputer, Watson, who (or is it which?) will be competing on Jeopardy?  Not to be out done, Microsoft announced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo their latest achievement-to-be : Project Natal.  Project Natal aims to be a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience,” hopefully making the XBox 360 and gaming overall more approachable.

While the prospect of a more immersive entertainment experience is highly appealing to many, this new chapter in technology is opening new doors for human interaction with artificial intelligence that were only available in science fiction films such as Steven Spielberg‘s A.I. Developed for years at Lionhead Studios under the pseudonym The Dimitri Project, Milo is a new brand of AI that totally blew every attendee at E3 away.

Milo will, of course, also usher in the pending robot apocalypse when it comes. Sometimes, I think that no one is paying heed to the many films, television programs, acclaimed works of supposed fiction…

A living virtual AI, Milo reacts to body movements and facial expressions. He is a program that recognizes people, introduces himself to new people, and allows people to have a conversation with him. Drawing pictures on paper and showing it to “Natal” allows the computer to scan the image and create a representative onscreen that Milo can give his opinion on and interact with as a real drawing.  While only Milo was available to interact with at E3, his (or its?) dog, Kate, is also in the works.

Milo invites the user to interact in his world, but how close are we to the point when Milo begs to interact with ours?

It comes as no surprise that Spielberg, an avid gamer himself, came out for support of Project Natal at E3.

He says :

None of us love our electric toothbrushes. But if you carved a face into it and every morning it talked to you and knew you well enough to sense your mood and, depending on your mood in the morning, it would make you feel better and just set you off on the right foot. Would whisper in your ear. Would sing you a song. And, suddenly, that electric toothbrush, if a dog chewed it up…it would not be a happy evening when you came home from work or school and found your electric toothbrush, that use to challenge and council you in the morning, chewed up by the dog. So it’s what we project into mechanism, in the machines, that’s important. It’s not so much that the machine can love us, but how much love do we invest back into it in return. And that determines how far we should go in creating things that remind us of ourselves.