Deimos is a virtual flight-attendant/tour-guide/bar-tender in our new play Red Planet Respite. She was named after one of the two moons of Mars. The other moon of Mars is named Phobos. I’m glad Katie didn’t pick that name. Deimos is the ultimate customer service personality, always helpful and smiling; so this was a perfect role for someone like me with 10+ years of customer service experience.
Deimos needed to be filmed so Spring-Break ended early for me. I woke up in California at 6am Thursday morning, drank my weight in coffee, and headed East. As a theatre professional, I hate waking up this early, but I’ll do whatever it takes for my art, plus I was able to catch a gorgeous sunrise! Haven’t seen one of those in years!
To prepare for the shoot, I spent some time doing research on Virtual Personalities and Artificial Intelligence. I was amazed at what I found.
Evie represents one of the major steps humans have taken in the development of Artificial Intelligence. She puts a face and a voice to the AI Algorithm called Cleverbot. What is amazing about this program is that it learns from communicating with humans. Cleverbot has been conversing with humans since it’s birth in 1997 and picking up our words, definitions, phrases and conversation patterns along the way. You can talk to Cleverbot and Evie too! And its FREE online!
Talk to Evie at: http://www.existor.com
Talk to Cleverbot at: http://www.cleverbot.com
The technology is still pretty primitive compared to what sci-fi predicts. I think part of the reason for this is all the random input the program is receiving from so many different humans. We are quirky, divers, confusing thinkers. This aspect of Cleverbot is hilariously illustrated by this short film WRITTEN by CLEVERBOT!
Do You Love Me - written by Cleverbot
A different sort of AI, the Intelligent Personal Assistant(IPA), is used in the every day lives of modern-day smart phone users. The IPA can manage your schedule, give you directions or look up anything and everything on the web. Apple’s Siri is the best known example of this technology but Samsung, LG, Micrsoft and countless other companies have created their own versions. This technology was used to create the Virtual Assistant Denise and her little sister Hellena.
I find it noteworthy that all three of these examples of Virtual AI have basically the EXACT same features. They all look like 20-something Caucasian women with long-brown hair and light eyes. What the f#*k is up with that?!? In all of my research of Artificial Intelligence I found an upsetting relationship with this quest to “Create the Perfect Woman.” If you want to be freaked out watch this video about a robot named Lisa(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2wYWAlg8Do). Luckily this was a hoax and Lisa was really a human actress. She was really good! I definitely used Lisa for inspiration when creating Deimos.
Even though brown hair seems to be a requirement for Virtual Assistants I didn’t think that fit right for Deimos. She isn’t really an Assistant. She is a flight-attendant/tour-guide/bar-tender. We considered Purple, Pink, Blue and White but finally settled on a silver-blonde color. I used my favorite Swedish Pop-Singer Robyn for hair-cut inspiration. I love her futuristic references in her music and her fashion!
“I’ve got some news for you! Femme-bots have feelings too!” –Fembot by Robyn
I also really love Janelle Monae for the same reasons.
“I’m an alien from outerspace. I’m a cybergirl without a face, a heart, or a mind.” –Violet Stars Happy Hunting by Janelle Monae.
Deimos’ Costume and make-up were designed by our very talented Grad-Designer Anastasia Schneider.
All the elements came together nicely on Friday morning. I met with our lighting designer Noel Miller and our Media Designer Boyd Branch. It was a real pleasure to work with such professionals. We were set up and filming before 10am and finished shooting less than 3 hours later. After that I had lunch and passed out from exhaustion until I woke up and wrote this blog. Becoming Deimos is hard work, but I know the results will be worth it.