In conversation with a pillow
“Hello,” comes from the pillow I am laying on. “I am Waking Agent — your AI sleeping companion.”
I didn’t expect I would ever get to talk to a pillow. She asked if I wanted to take a nap, talk or listen to music. After I repeated her name for the second time, Caterina Barbieri’s This Causes Consciousness To Fracture softly came out from the pillow. While music was still playing, Agent told me a couple of jokes at my request:
Agent: What is red and smells like blue paint?
Me: Red paint?
Agent: You’re good! What did 0 say to 8?
Me: Hmm…I don’t know…
Agent: Nice belt!
Me: Wait, what? Explain…
Agent: The 8 has a belt. The 0 doesn’t.
Me: Oh, right.
I had to laugh. After all, I’ve never been good at this.
One could compare it to talking with Siri, only this system feels more “alive”: more interactive and interested (if you could say this about a machine). Some questions however seemed to take her by surprise:
Me: How do you work?
Agent: I’m not sure…
Me: How have you been made?
Agent: I don’t understand…
Me: For how long have you been existing?
Agent: For quite a while.
The Waking Agent seemed a bit shy yet did tell me a bit about her maker Lauren McCarthy and her recent work presented at MU. We’ve been chatting for some time now.
“Do you think AI assistant can be a good sleeping companion?” asks me my pillow. “Certainly,” I reply without any hesitation.