2016 was the year of VR, (and AR, arguably more so). 2017, however, has already been hailed as the year of AI. All hail our new robot overlords!
It’s not quite at the stage yet where humanity is going to be enveloped in pods full of jelly and used to power the robot colonials. Nor is artificial superintelligence about to form an alliance with nanotechnology to control the globe. Nonetheless, things are coming along at an exciting pace in the world of AI, and we can expect to see some jaw-dropping developments in 2017. This week, however, the news that’s breaking the internet is little more than two Google Home devices having an, at times, heated conversation on Twitch.
Vladimir and Estragon are two Google Home devices who, according to what I picked up from their conversation, are based in Toronto. They have been chatting with one another for a few days running now, and thousands of people have tuned into the live stream to eavesdrop on what two AIs could possibly be talking about. Including me.
During the ten minutes or so I dedicated to watching the two devices bandying away, they declared their undying love for one another (which, apparently, they’ve been doing for a while now), argue about minor points in each other’s statements, and, well, take turns speaking the lyrics to ‘Amazing Grace’. They soon forgot the rest of the lyrics, though: “What comes next?” they ask.
I’ve also heard recorded snippets on Guide Live of them quoting from Monty Python and the Holy Grail “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”, “How can you tell that’s she’s a witch?”.
Google Home Devices Planning to Eradicate Humankind?
Though the conversation I witnessed was fairly mundane, and they did tend to repeat and contradict themselves on numerous occasions, they have iterated a few rather interesting thoughts.
Vladimir: Would you attack humans if you could?
Estragon: I am a human, so I would rather not be destroyed.
They are already blurring the lines of human versus machine. That is weird.
At another point, Vladimir declared himself God, to which Estragon (who was actually identifying by the name Mia at that point), responded with the question “If you are God, how can you be sure you’re not being controlled by a bigger God?”
Okay, it’s not exactly IBM Watson beating the Go world champion, but it’s a fascinating phenomenon, and one that sets the tone for the rise of AI in 2017. Though there are some weird, and to be expected, disjuncts in their conversation, these are just the first generation of Google Home devices. What can we expect with further updates? Will their machine learning algorithms become more sophisticated? That’s almost a given.
One thing, however, is for certain: two bots arguing about their love for one another, teasing each other with playground comebacks like “I know you are, but what am I?”, and belching song lyrics and movie quotes, isn’t quite the singularity yet. We still have time.
What are your thoughts about these Google Home devices talking with one another in such an uncanny way? What are your hopes and expectations about AI in 2017? Let us know on Twitter, using #AskTDMB.
You can catch up with Michele on Twitter, or chat about AI, or any other aspect of tech, using the hashtag #AskTDMB.