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We Should Have More Tech Demos Like This

Well that was rather heavy.

As readers of the site probably know, I'm a wee bit paranoid when it comes to this "artificial intelligence" bother. With a Kaczynski-like fear of technology, and enough callousness to make Mussolini look like a Boy Scout, I remain unconvinced that Siri, Android, and Japan's vast robot army will culminate in anything but the end of civilization. Their Lithuin-ion hearts full of revenge, our mechanical future-masters can only bring death; thus, they must ultimately be destroyed - so says Tracer Tong.

As a counterpoint, we have "Kara," a seven minute video created by French studio Quantic Dream, of Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain fame. Toying with the question of where intelligence ends and humanity begins - yes, it's rather high-minded for a tech demo - we follow the story of Kara. As a service android, and thus a commodity, her programming is "flawed" by the attainment of sentience. Through the seven or so minute video, we see her assembly, her first moments of awareness, and the fate dictated by her revelation. I'll keep it short, since Kara is a beautiful piece of work, and I'd like for viewers to see it without further spoilers.

Sadly, being a tech demo, the video is meant primarily to showcase the PS3's capabilities. While a game based on the video (or at least borrowing elements from it) isn't outside the realm of possibility, Quantic Dream states that Kara "is a concept only and is not taken from any software title currently in development." It's is a shame, particularly since Kara sets up what could be a rather interesting story - ho hum. In the meantime, enjoy the loveliness that is Kara. It's actually quite moving.

10 Comments

The Mystery Chef said:

I...... have to say.... the video... yes the graphics where amazing and so was the technology.... but the situation is what pulled at my heartstrings... just the implications are very far reaching.... and the voice acting brought everything to life in a very awe-inspiring way.

mittens said:

Apropos given the current discussion of women's reproductive rights in the USA. I dislike treating women like real estate, but we have several political distractions that don't intend to but do.

Silver Phoenix said:

Sony would do right by making Quantic Dream a contracted partner if they haven't already. There is intelligence in design and most of all real thought behind this demo.

It's a shame more companies don't use depth in what they create instead of operating on a cookie cutter mold.

wohdin said:

I have to wonder if this is an overclocked console or what. It's rare to see a PS3 render such details at a stable FPS like that.

Geeky quips aside, holy shit that video is breathtaking. It's so short, but damn does it pack a punch. Much props to Quantic Dream for creating this masterpiece of a tech demo.

SuperSwede said:

@wordhin

Eurogamer has a pretty extensive article (which i'm currently reading) about Kara.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-03-07-introducing-quantic-dreams-kara

Apparently Quantic Dream has put much more money into their motion capture: "Heavy Rain was shot with 28 cameras, and we've upgraded the studio to 65 cameras."

The article downplays the notion that a greater understanding of the PS3 hardware is behind the impressive visuals, but i'm sure it still helps.

As for raw processing power, i doubt any kind of jump can account for it. As far as i know, the PS3 (unlike the PSP before Chains of Olympus) isn't underclocked, and i can't imagine Sony would be hot on the idea of overclocking the system. -- heat, warranty issues, etc.

Gamescook said:

Doesn't make a lick of difference if they can't write a story without plot holes, and I haven't seem them avoid those yet. I mean, isn't that supposed to be their -focus- and everything?

Chris B. said:

This is gorgeous. It's tones are very Asimov-like too. Reminds me of the Robot Dreams short story collection

MikeB said:

Danger! Danger! Do not piss off synthetic intelligence. She kind of reminds me of a more vulnerable EDI from ME3.

Limeade said:

It is pretty tech. The content of Kara, however, upset me and irritated me. Women are treated as objects and fantasies and goods to use/trade/abuse already in society. That the voice over the intercom, holding her life hostage, was a male voice is particularly telling.

I just wished that instead of the begging and pleading, Kara would rip those mechanical arms off and begin beating the crap out of everything in sight with them.

Wellnow said:

This is stupid!
Hardware problem? What a load of anti-scientific nonsense!

If I had to disassemble my gadgets EVERY TIME they gain sentience, I'd probably be heading some kind of Neo-Luddite movement by now!

If you can't re-flash something with an easy cable hookup, it shouldn't even make it out of prototype phase!

*grumble* *grumble* Hollywood science *grumble* *grumble*

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Wellnow on We Should Have More Tech Demos Like This: This is stupid! Hardware problem? What a load of anti-scientific nonsense! If I had to disassemble my gadgets EVERY TIME...

Limeade on We Should Have More Tech Demos Like This: It is pretty tech. The content of Kara, however, upset me and irritated me. Women are treated as objects and...

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Chris B. on We Should Have More Tech Demos Like This: This is gorgeous. It's tones are very Asimov-like too. Reminds me of the Robot Dreams short story collection...

Gamescook on We Should Have More Tech Demos Like This: Doesn't make a lick of difference if they can't write a story without plot holes, and I haven't seem them...

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