So about that E3 conference…
As much as I love video games, very few of them capture my interest, simply because it seems like a lot of them have been done before. And done to death (I’m looking at you, Call of Duty), leaving the industry in the tedious loop of the same stories, dialogue and general plots as everything that has come before. Thus, I’ve become quite bored. But every now and again a Mirror’s Edge, We Happy Few or InFamous comes out. That is to say, a game that actually interests me and makes me even considering bothering to play it.
This time, it’s a game called Detroit: Become Human.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m crazy about robots, androids and just artificial intelligence in general (I even have an AI controlling my laptop, and his name is J.A.R.V.I.S, made in the same style as Tony Stark’s personal assistant), and while people who know the creator of the game-David Cage-groan because of his so called “pretentious storytelling”, I’m still very much interested.
The game spawned from a short film called Quantic Dream, meant to showcase the graphics for a new game engine. The short was a hit, and followed an android named Kara, who we see created and then have to watch almost be destroyed. A few years later, it’s now a game with her as a playable character, and a new addition named Connor, a bot whose purpose is to negotiate in hostile situations to make sure all humans survive, if possible.
Kara seems to embody the classic story as a bot who was created with an “error” that caused her to develop a sort of self-awareness that she was built to lack. She is the cliche. She wants to live as humans do, and she doesn’t want to be treated as property. She wants to live her life, like anyone else.
Connor however, has a job to do, and our first glimpse of him is a trailer in which he has to save a small girl from a malfunctioning bot and get her to safety. Depending on the player’s decisions when controlling Connor, the child is either rescued, or ends up falling off the building with the bot (which is quite awful to watch). He seems to be content following human’s orders, but the first we see of him is him playing with a coin in an elevator, seemingly for no other reason than his own amusement, and to pass the time. It could also be nerves, seeing as he is walking into a situation where it’s solely on him to save a young child. How self-aware is he?
Whenever media puts out a new story regarding AI’s it gets the world thinking.
Is the direction we’re heading a safe one?
How close are we to having androids walking about?
In our movies and television shows they’re either portrayed as sympathetic beings, or unfeeling things that find themselves wondering why they must take orders from us. There are also shows like the wrongfully cancelled FOX show Almost Human, that portrays both the good and the bad, yet in my opinion seems the most realistic. Sometimes you get protagonists like Michael Ealy’s Dorian, a lovable bot that simply wants to help people and maybe have some fun doing it, and sometimes you get bots like Gina Carano’s Danica, who simply doesn’t see the value in human life and doesn’t really care who she hurts.
My opinion? As cool as is would be to have artificial beings walking around, it’s probably best not to cross that line, if for no other reason than the fact that humans can hardly get along with each other, much less walking human-shaped machines made of silicon and carbon fiber.
As for that video game, I’m waiting with bated breath for more news. The discourse it’ll produce will be interesting to read.