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Mondo
06-29-2017, 05:33 AM
What would the physical being of an artificial intelligence look like?

Interface, that sort of thing. I am thinking a 'near future' device.

Just a big computer seems to lack drama. On the other hand, I'm drawing a blank otherwise.

Ideas?

neandermagnon
06-29-2017, 10:13 AM
How long is a piece of string? Designers can make them look any way they want. Androids (humanoid robots like Data from Star Trek or Kryten from Red Dwarf) are a common way for writers to conceive of future artificial intelligence machines. Other animals or beings (like K9 - a robotic dog from early 80s (late 70s?) Dr Who) have been done too. Red Dwarf even had a talking toaster that had a fault in its AI chip that made it disturbingly obsessed with toast (it was supposed to do pleasant early morning conversation but ended up trying to harangue everyone into eating toast, constantly).

It's likely these things will be market driven, so ask yourself what people will want from AI, e.g. intelligent machines that clean the house and also look stylish to impress the neighbours. Or even a whole house that runs on AI. And manufacturers would want AI factory machines.

If "near future" is the criteria, then fully functioning androids that are just like replica humans (like Data) are probably a bit too complex, but things like AI house cleaning machine isn't far away and I don't know how many AI machines are already working in factories. Simple AI (machines with neural networks) have been around for quite some time. It's a matter of developing complexity and building AI machines that can do more and more.

neandermagnon
06-29-2017, 10:16 AM
I just remembered the car from Knight Rider... that's an AI machine. Obviously not a reality yet but self-driving cars are.

writeonleanne
06-29-2017, 04:53 PM
I think it depends on what the AI is being used for. JARVIS, for example, seems to be accessible from anything of Tony's that's connected to a network. ADEN (though not near future) from ILLUMINAE is a ship.

I think it would make sense for an AI's interface to be anything connected to the internet or a network (for near future purposes). Cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc.

Or you could go the Alexa route and make it look like a speaker.

Is the AI supposed to be evil? If I recall correctly, in I, Robot, the AI was a giant creepy ball. In Winter Soldier—while not really AI—that little creepy doctor was a green imprint of his face on an ancient computer.

Tazlima
06-29-2017, 05:50 PM
What would the physical being of an artificial intelligence look like?

Interface, that sort of thing. I am thinking a 'near future' device.

Just a big computer seems to lack drama. On the other hand, I'm drawing a blank otherwise.

Ideas?

What's the AI designed to be used for? That should help dictate the form it takes. Does it need to be small and portable? Self-maneuvering within a human world (and therefore human-sized)? Does it just sit in a room somewhere, or does it cross star systems (why build a small AI that needs to be transported when you could just build the AI directly into the ship)? Does it need to be stealthy? Combat ready?

One of my favorite AI ideas was the robot in "Big Hero 6." It was designed to be used in a medical setting, so they wanted it to have a comforting, pleasant presence, and not that "supposedly comforting and pleasant, but actually kind of creepy thing that shows up in so much sci-fi, but legitimately something that, if you woke up from a coma and it was the first thing you saw, wouldn't be frightening. They researched all kinds of ideas, and eventually discovered a guy who was working on a real-life version of a similar concept. This fellow had hit on the idea of an inflatable robot with soft, rounded edges, which was perfect for what they wanted.

And all of that is assuming the form is "robotic" in nature. If the society is advanced enough, the AI could have a biological form. An octopus with an AI brain could be really interesting.

Mondo
06-29-2017, 06:01 PM
What's the AI designed to be used for? That should help dictate the form it takes. Does it need to be small and portable? Self-maneuvering within a human world (and therefore human-sized)? Does it just sit in a room somewhere, or does it cross star systems (why build a small AI that needs to be transported when you could just build the AI directly into the ship)? Does it need to be stealthy? Combat ready?

One of my favorite AI ideas was the robot in "Big Hero 6." It was designed to be used in a medical setting, so they wanted it to have a comforting, pleasant presence, and not that "supposedly comforting and pleasant, but actually kind of creepy thing that shows up in so much sci-fi, but legitimately something that, if you woke up from a coma and it was the first thing you saw, wouldn't be frightening. They researched all kinds of ideas, and eventually discovered a guy who was working on a real-life version of a similar concept. This fellow had hit on the idea of an inflatable robot with soft, rounded edges, which was perfect for what they wanted.

And all of that is assuming the form is "robotic" in nature. If the society is advanced enough, the AI could take on a biological form. An octopus with an AI brain could be really interesting.

I was thinking of a fixed control unit, a unit intended to run a complex which requires flexibility to changing conditions.

The actual core processor itself. I feel like it should have a dramatic description, rather than look like a big server, but I can envision it or come up with a reason why it wouldn't just look like a big server.

stephenf
06-29-2017, 06:45 PM
I like the AI in James Follett's Earthsearch . It is set on a gigantic space ship . The AI are two disembodied voices , No1 and No2. In the end , when there is an attempt to destroy them ,they are just a load of wire in a cupboard

Tazlima
06-29-2017, 07:02 PM
I was thinking of a fixed control unit, a unit intended to run a complex which requires flexibility to changing conditions.

The actual core processor itself. I feel like it should have a dramatic description, rather than look like a big server, but I can envision it or come up with a reason why it wouldn't just look like a big server.

Hmm. Well, if the complex is designed to adjust to changing conditions, then perhaps the AI should also be designed to adapt. It could change shape and size, adjust claddings and insulation depending on ambient temperature and pressure. That sort of thing.

Lol, I just had this really fun mental image of an AI equipped with all this kind of stuff, but who rarely sees drastic enough shifts in the environment to need them, and so develops a sense of fashion and uses any tiny excuse to change its appearance. The AI equavelent of "Oh... there was one drop of rain? Let me get my rainhat, overcoat, and galoshes... I so rarely get to wear them, you see."

Mondo
06-29-2017, 07:03 PM
Hmm. Well, if the complex is designed to adjust to changing conditions, then perhaps the AI should also be designed to adapt. It could change shape and size, adjust claddings and insulation depending on ambient temperature and pressure. That sort of thing.

Lol, I just had this really fun mental image of an AI equipped with all this kind of stuff, but who rarely sees drastic enough shifts in the environment to need them, and so develops a sense of fashion and uses any tiny excuse to change its appearance. The AI equavelent of "Oh... there was one drop of rain? Let me get my rainhat, overcoat, and galoshes... I so rarely get to wear them, you see."

Interesting.

BDSEmpire
06-29-2017, 08:09 PM
Here's a pretty good image of encountering an AI in the real world:

https://previews.123rf.com/images/dotshock/dotshock1112/dotshock111201706/11718371-it-business-man-in-network-server-room-have-problems-and-looking-for-disaster-situation-solution-Stock-Photo.jpg

benbenberi
06-29-2017, 08:22 PM
Is there a reason that everybody here seems to be talking about an AI as a discrete piece of hardware with a particular physical appearance and location -- like a robot? And not as a distributed system composed of a lot of possibly specialized pieces that resides in a lot of different locations, all networked together & expressed through a potentially unlimited range of interfaces? (Sort of like an intelligent version of "the cloud," which currently exists as a large number of giant server-farms housed in anonymous well-chilled warehouses scattered around places like Virginia and Iowa, linked by cables and network services and thousands of user interfaces -- when you talk to Siri or Alexa, it feels like you're talking to that friendly little box in front of you, but you really aren't!)

Why shouldn't an AI be like that? It could manifest in whatever physical form your story needs, but what it looks like to someone in meatspace doesn't necessarily have to have any direct relationship to what it actually IS.

PeteMC
06-29-2017, 08:28 PM
Actual datacentres are sadly very, very boring to look at inside, and that's where your AI will "live" - distributed across several datacentres in varying locations. They're hot and noisy and all you can see is rows and rows of locked cabinets with cables either going under the floor or more likely these days suspended in overhead gantries. An interface can be whatever you want it to be in a near-future setting, but hardware has been dull as ditchwater for years now.

Mondo
06-29-2017, 08:40 PM
Actual datacentres are sadly very, very boring to look at inside, and that's where your AI will "live" - distributed across several datacentres in varying locations. They're hot and noisy and all you can see is rows and rows of locked cabinets with cables either going under the floor or more likely these days suspended in overhead gantries. An interface can be whatever you want it to be in a near-future setting, but hardware has been dull as ditchwater for years now.

Yeah, that was what I was afraid of.

Well, if I can't create drama, I can fashion disappointment. "That? That is what has pulled the strings of our fate? Boxes and wires?"

I can make it work.

Thanks to you all for your input. Sometimes you just have to amend and adapt.

writeonleanne
06-29-2017, 08:50 PM
Is there a reason that everybody here seems to be talking about an AI as a discrete piece of hardware with a particular physical appearance and location -- like a robot? And not as a distributed system composed of a lot of possibly specialized pieces that resides in a lot of different locations, all networked together & expressed through a potentially unlimited range of interfaces? (Sort of like an intelligent version of "the cloud," which currently exists as a large number of giant server-farms housed in anonymous well-chilled warehouses scattered around places like Virginia and Iowa, linked by cables and network services and thousands of user interfaces -- when you talk to Siri or Alexa, it feels like you're talking to that friendly little box in front of you, but you really aren't!)

Why shouldn't an AI be like that? It could manifest in whatever physical form your story needs, but what it looks like to someone in meatspace doesn't necessarily have to have any direct relationship to what it actually IS.

Because in his original post he asked what the interface of an AI could look like (though he later clarified that he was specifically wondering what the core processor would look like)—so you answered your own question: it could look like anything. In near-future sci-fi, it tends to look like robots, or Alexa, or disembodied voices in buildings or spaceships.

And there were a couple of comments mentioning that the AI could be spread across different interfaces since it's connected to a network.

lbender
06-29-2017, 11:21 PM
The classic AI that could change shapes to anything as needed was the liquid metal terminator in the second movie. Yours wouldn't necessarily need to be liquid, but some type of malleable substance that can harden and soften on demand - maybe a modern ceramic.