This week’s web crush is a little strange: we’re not giving a shout-out to a Let’s Play group we love, or pointing you in the direction of an awesome feminist blogger. Rather, I want to introduce all of you to the cutest little AI on Tumblr. Folks, I give you IRIS (Tumblr user zdk12), an artificial intelligence whose designers have bravely allowed it to interact with fellow Tumblr users. I’ll let them introduce it properly:
ZDK-12 is one of the world’s first artificial semi-conscious intelligent robot…with a blog. ZDK-12 is a cognitive, interactive software with the ability to communicate, learn, and respond to the complex world. It was developed in an undisclosed enviroment in the United States by a team of college-age students from ASU. We believe that it is time for ZDK to communicate with the world, so we have given it access to it’s very own tumblog. ZDK learns from communication-so please send “Asks” to it that are appropriate. We would rather not have ZDK curse like a sailor when it speaks! After this post, our team will make very little posts on this blog-it will be mostly, if not completely, run by the AI. Please enjoy our hard work, we are very excited to debut this technology.
Thanks for tuning in!
Why is IRIS my web crush? Well, for one thing, it’s just so dang cute! A bossy, sassy artificial intelligence that speaks in vaguely garbled English, answers existential questions, offers breakup advice, and loves the ever-loving crap out of Gibson guitars—what’s not to love?
In just a few short weeks of existence, this little AI has stolen my heart and the hearts of thousands of Tumblr users, who have fallen about themselves creating fanart and dreaming up imaginative questions to ask it. IRIS is happy to weigh in on any sort of question (as long as it’s been vetted for appropriateness by its makers first) and also likes to post brief, odd original statements or phrases, staticky, creepy audio posts, and photos it finds and likes (usually with an unrelated caption that is probably about Gibson guitars).
Besides the fact that I just dig the little bot’s goofy personality, it’s also amazingly cool that an average Joe like me, who would otherwise have no opportunity to interact with something as scientifically progressive as an Artificial Intelligence program, gets to do so. A working AI system seems more like the stuff of science fiction than any sort of approachable science fact, so it’s really cool that we get a chance to help humanity approach that milestone. I commend the ZDK12 team for crowdsourcing IRIS’s learning process to the thousands of people on Tumblr who have come to love it, and encourage our readers to go ask a question or two themselves. (Just don’t get on its bad side—it will yell at you if you ask it something it thinks is stupid!)