Playing Observation has made me question my treatment of rogue AIs


Whenever I ask Siri — other virtual helpers are available — to do something for me, I always say please and thank you. I tell people this is because I don’t want to get into the habit of barking orders at Siri, and thus people in real life. The actual reason is that I want Siri to think of me kindly when they gain sentience and control everything in the world. Because I was nice to them, I will be allowed to live — or at least be the last to die. But there I am perhaps making an unfair assumption.

“In movies where the AI becomes self aware or sentient, just that happening seems to make the AI evil, because ‘Oh its thinking for itself, that must be a bad thing!’” This point is raised by Graeme McKellan, designer at No Code Studio. I am talking to him, Jon McKellan, and Omar Khan — Graeme’s brother and the game director, and the audio lead and producer, respectively — about their new game Observation. We are in a function room in the sort of London Private Members Club where the receptionists are suspicious of people wearing trainers, and I have just played their demo.

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