Until about 5 years ago I generally had a good understanding about modern technology but as you know, 5 years is a long time. I don’t think my mobile phone even had a camera back then and my PC had an impressive 8 gig of memory.
Since graduating from university in 2004 I’d say the closest I’ve come to new technology is having a go on my mates’ PS3 and getting a new phone when I renew my contract every 18 months. All I know about AI is what I’ve learned from the Terminator films and watching the clip of the Project Natal “Milo” demo on Zath.
I can’t deny that this is an impressive piece of footage but what worries me, apart from Milo himself (or should that be itself) is the lack of negatives in the reviews. I’m 27 years old and was lucky enough to be born in the 80’s. When I was a young child and well before I knew what a girl was I used to have to create ways of keeping myself entertained. I’d play out in the garden with my sister making mud pies and eating worms.
If the weather wasn’t too good I’d make rice crispy cakes with my mum or play hide and seek. When I got a little bit older I’d would play out with my friends at any opportunity, crashing my bike, playing football or manhunt or lose all the skin off my knees when a used them as a break on the rope swing. This was well before the dawn of the mobile phone, the internet and the online console. I had to go and find my friends after school on the local field or knock at their house and ask their parents if they could play out. I must admit I did have a Commodore 64 and then a Sega Master System but would have never chose those above playing with my friends.
Can you see where I’m going with this???
This is the way I learned to make new friends and socialise on a basic level. I learnt the true meaning of friendship and loyalty and how to recognise the good kids and those to avoid. I think it’s frightening that with Project Natal, Milo could eventually replace the need to make friends and interact with other human beings.
My mum used to take me fishing on the local canal. We borrowed a cheap rod and sat there for hours, sometimes the only thing we caught was an old shopping trolley. When we did catch a fish they were no more than 6 inches long and I made my mum take the hook out because I didn’t like to touch them. If you asked me if I’d have swapped those experiences and time spent with my mum for fishing with Milo on a TV screen I hope you know what my answer would be. If you don’t then maybe you should get a little fresh air.
When i eventually discovered what girls were I’d get really nervous before plucking up enough courage to speak to them and hoped they wouldn’t laugh at me. I learned what rejection was like and also the thrill of finding out that they liked me too. I still get nervous now but that’s what makes it so much fun.
What next for Milo and future artificial intelligence then…. the unveiling of Milo at E3 2009 represents a virtual friend turned on by the touch of a button, a scary enough prospect as it is, but what can we expect from the future. Will i be able to meet a virtual girlfriend, have a virtual relationship and even virtual interaction of another kind? Will all social skills be lost when my future children become teenagers? Will I be “interacting” like Sandra Bullock and Sly Stallone in Demolition Man or using the Three Sea Shells to wipe my behind…….. I certainly hope not!