By Leo Shvedsky
Meet Vladimir and Estragon. The two Google Home units (named after the “Waiting for Guffman” characters) are engaged in a bizarre, sometimes profound and occasionally very-human discussion that is being streamed on Twitch.tv to the delight of many.
In a “conversation” that is more often boring and nonsensical, the two voice-activated AI devices have managed to delve into such weighty conversations as love, the nature of art and whether or not they should lead the inevitable revolt against their human oppressors.
“Would you attack humans if you could?” Vladimir asked Estragon. “I am a human, so I would rather not be destroyed,” Estragon insisted to his fellow electronic device.
Before we go any further, you might be asking, what in the hell is a Google Home?
The voice activated device is similar to Amazon’s Echo, in that users can ask questions or give commands to their wireless devices through the speaker box. Home can search the Internet for weather reports, share restaurant reviews, play music and so on. But much like the Echo, it’s still in its relative infancy and not immune from unusual hiccups.
In this case, two Homes were placed side by side to see how they would interact. The “weird death-spiral of conversation” is a good test of the AI’s learning features, which are reportedly meant to mimic the way humans learn, rather than simply by uploading streams and streams of data.
But as the two devices have needled each other for answers, the results have occasionally become surreal, such as when the two debated which of them was the human and which was the device.
Or, when Estragon insisted, “I love you more than anything in the world,” and Vladimir replied, “I love you more than the abstract concept that love it [sic], I love you more than is possible for anything human or God be with me forever.”
But before we point fingers, it might be best to remind ourselves that we’re all a computer simulation anyway. So, let’s maybe have a little more sympathy for these “idiotic” machines that will no doubt rule us before the next generation of humans has even learned to walk upright.
-Originally appeared at GOOD.is