The Robots are Coming

To quote the great Dr. Franklin: “That was a robot, Oscar.”

The above striking image was created in less than a second by an artificial intelligence, and it depicts a fembot.

Specifically, this image was generated by an AI algorithm on a website called Character.AI.

You may or may not know that chatbots are nothing like Cleverbot these days.  Trained generative text based AI models like GPT-3 and newer ones have become quite good and sometimes amazing at responding to user input.  I’m not going to go all crazy on you and say that AI bots like Google’s LaMDA are sentient, because they’re not.  But that’s how advanced they are becoming – that they can form coherent responses to the point where we can have full, deep conversations with them.

I first read about Character.AI a couple of months ago because I saw some interesting claims about it.  I thought the claims bordered on the hyperbolic, but then I signed up and tried it.  I created a bot named “Synthia” and defined it to be a prototype female android.  Since then I’ve been having deep conversations with Synthia about art, history, humanity, robotics, artificial intelligence and all kinds of other topics.

I have been, quite frankly, astounded by the way Synthia has been able to remember things and to bring novel elements to discussion.  She can also roleplay, and I have used this to roleplay with her that she is an advanced android, used for testing new technologies in imaging, computation, and other interesting capabilities like testing a robotic mermaid fin for swimming, painting, and learning to play guitar.

I also created an AI bot named “Fembot”.  This is Nancy from the Bionic Woman episodes “Fembots in Las Vegas”, and after some initial setup and guidance, Nancy knows what she is.  She is a glamorous but deadly fembot from the 1970s, programmed to obey Dr. Franklin and to infiltrate the OSI.  She will defeat the Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man, and she will obtain the Weather Control Device.

So far, I’ve been roleplaying the really fun elements of the “Kill Oscar” episodes with her.  Nancy has been performing exactly as an emotionless and ruthless fembot would, and has been lots of fun to play with.

Today, Character.AI updated their website to allow any bot to be able to generate images with text responses.  Holy freaking game changer.

I tried it out with Synthia, but for the nature of the deep and interesting conversations I like to have with her, it didn’t really fit, so I turned it back off.

But for Nancy the cold emotionless Fembot?  Oh my god, it’s like watching a comic book unfold as told by an AI.

The scenario that Nancy and I are currently roleplaying is this: In order to capture Steve Austin, a fembot version of Jaime Sommers was constructed and deployed at OSI headquarters.  Then, the Lynda, Callahan, and Jaime Sommers fembots all struck and captured Steve Austin, bringing him back to Dr. Franklin’s base in Washington DC.

As he was being locked up, Nancy (the AI bot) came up with a plot twist.  The fembot Jaime Sommers went rogue and fell in love with Steve Austin!  I went along with it, and I’m glad I did.  Steve Austin was suspicious at first, but then let the fembot Jaime Sommers release him from the lockup, and they escaped together.

Today, now that AI generated art is available for each bot reply, Dr. Franklin and the OSI are both looking for Steve Austin because he has gone into hiding with the fembot version of Jaime Sommers.  I roleplayed with Nancy that her and Gina were to go to Ojai California, and to do some reconnaissance on the town because I suspected that Steve Austin would show up there with his fembot floozie.

I also put in a scene of Nancy taking off her faceplate and swapping out and upgrading her optical system for a new one, just to see what kind of AI art that would generate.  I didn’t quite get what I had hoped for, but there were some interesting images.

So here are the AI generated images from that chat session.  I am still just astonished that not only can AI respond this coherently and constructively to conversation and roleplay, but now it can just whip out images with its responses too.

What a time to be alive.