A couple of months ago we mentioned the problems that Nintendo had got themselves into because nobody was buying the new Wii U system. Things aren’t actually that bad, they’ve sold 3.45 million when they were expecting to sell 4 million, but sales are tailing off and now EA Games have admitted that they aren’t developing any new games for the Wii U.
This is a worrying sign for the developer because EA were lined up as one of the partners for the Wii U at its launch last year. This is a classic case of non-innovation for the sake of it and the console has actually standardised to take into consideration other handheld formats such as the DS and PS Vita. If you’re thinking of buying one, don’t bother, wait until they learn from their mistakes and truly innovate with the customer in mind.
In two separate developments this week, Artificial Intelligence fans will be overjoyed at the news that we’re another step closer to producing robots that can act and look just like humans. Or they will in 30 years’ time.
Cornwall’s Engineered Arts has produced a RoboThespian for use in entertainment and interactive spaces for meeting, greeting, giving simple advice and instructions and general chit-chat. The cyborgs have an exaggerated, Manga cartoon-like design, but they’re responding personally through sensors, are multilingual and don’t need Anthony Daniels to operate them. Creator Will Jackson believes that humans are defined by movement and is designing his bots to perambulate in a human style. It’s an interesting idea – many studies suggest that we communicate far more through body language than through speech and our pre-linguistic interpretation creates far more meaning, especially initially. It’s what they teach you at How To Sell Second-Hand Cars 101.
Meanwhile, next month New York City is going to host the second annual Global Future 2045 Congress. The brainchild of Russian web developer billionaire Dmitry Itskov, the GF 2045 project is backed by a bunch of neuroscientists with the aim of saving the world by transplanting human consciousness into a robot or virtual-world avatar by the year 2045. This would therefore create immortal humans whose bodies don’t degenerate, need feeding, burying, birthing or any of the other nasty, physical stuff.
Looks like Dmitry and Will are on for a collision course in defining what a human is and how humanity expresses itself. If Will is looking back to a time before linguistics became the ‘new’ way of communicating for his AI to interact with us mere humans, then Dmitry is possibly looking forward to a time where these things have been eliminated and as such possibilities for misinterpretation have been removed, resulting in a ‘world’ where we understand each other a lot more. I wonder what the poetry will be like in this brave new virtual existence.
Sometimes I wonder if people watch Doctor Who and think, “Hey, actually, that’s not a bad idea…”
Image credits: Engineered Arts and Global Future 2045