I wrote about AI Dungeon 2 when it came out last year, but I really should have been keeping up with it. It’s essentially a messy yet occasionally flabbergasting chat bot that spins up text adventure games, improvised from your prompts and the stupid-big amount of data it’s been trained on. Developers Latitude have updated it loads since I posted about it in December, adding multiplayer and jazzing up its memory.
You can also customise it, so its prompts are all geared around a certain concept and you get more consistency. Creator Nick Walton just released one about giving an AI therapy and it’s a little bit surreal.
Here’s Walton’s own work, to start you off:
Will AI one day need therapy from humans? This is me being a therapist to an AI and it's fascinating.
"You know this isn't happening right? It's just you looking at a screen and me being a bunch of code." pic.twitter.com/7yB9HrYbwe
— Nick Walton (@nickwalton00) August 2, 2020
For Walton, the unsettling part doesn’t just come from how well the AI *understands* what’s going on – it’s the way he still wound up feeling sorry for it. I certainly saw glimpses of that on my first go, but the AI does tend to spoil that by veering off into the absurd.
It’s not consistent enough to be truly spooky. There’s a sort of piecemeal coherence, where when it works it really works – but a lot of the time it can’t quite handle what I throw at it. Most of the AIs I’ve tried to help have been frustratingly taciturn, and I wish there was a way to stop the bot providing my end of the conversation. Even if that is sometimes very funny.
Here, have a go. Note that you can click the button at the bottom left to “Say” rather than “Do”, though I’m not sure which gets the best results.
The normal, open-ended RPGs are well worth a go too. I think the Dungeon’s current form is best treated as improv rather than videogame. See it as a comedy double act, with the AI as your semi-unhinged DM.
It’s worth noting I haven’t tried the latest version, “Dragon”. They’re billing that as “10x better” than the current standard version, though to access it you need to sign up for a seven day free trial for a premium account. That’s fair because this runs on cloud computers and processing power costs a fair whack, but annoying because the subscription button is currently busted for me.
Twitter wound up with far more disturbing results than I did, btw.