'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' Episode 2 Review: Scripting a character to making music, viewers are the king
It's week two of 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' and as promised, the audience is given greater control than ever before. This season, the audience gets to vote on things that influence the voting of the show and are also in control of the music and production choices, and as of this episode — character creation. It's the perfect prequel for the new series as every gamer knows that character creation is sometimes the best part of a game. The show was hosted by co-creator, producer and show director Bernie Su, who was joined by actor Justin Lee — who plays podcaster Justin Lee on the show. The episode took chat suggestions and, step by step, created an all new character who will be appearing on the show in the upcoming season.
The first choice was the most influential — determing how the new character will be connected to Justin Lee's. The audience voted for the new character to be Justin's ex-girlfriend as opposed to being his brother. Soon after, she was named after taking suggestions from the audience, and the top four being voted on. Having settled on Kira, more questions about her character emerged as laid down by Bernie, and Kira's character and backstory began to form.
Throughout the episode, the LiveScore technology was in full swing, reacting to the audience's mood to provide the music. Trigger words, emotes and phrases used in the chat would swing the music towards either Happy, Sad, Intense or Mysterious. For the most part, whatever algorithm determines the chat's emotions tended to default towards Intense, though there were several moments where Happy won out. Most notably, the only time the music ever reached a Level 2 tier for an emotion was with Happy, when Kira's catchphrase — "The milk doesn't lie" — was chosen.
As Kira's character developed, so did questions about how it all fit together. Justin and Bernie were beginning to fill in the blanks between character traits already. When Kira was defined as brutally honest, many in the chat wondered if that contributed to the break-up. When it was voted that Kira broke up with Justin because Justin's parents disapproved of her, wild speculation about the character filled the chat. What's interesting is how close a lot of the choices were. Many of the binary polls were split nearly 50/50 and Bernie says that that will play a role in Kira's development as well. He was thrilled to have polls so evenly split, claiming that that's what he hopes for with the audiences: polls that are difficult decisions, that split the room and make choices feel all the more important.
The chat itself seemed to be having a lot of fun. An early poll determined that there were a lot of newcomers to the series, more than viewers who had been with the show from Season 1, but that never deterred anyone from being invested in the story of what came before. Several key clips from previous episodes were shown, involving Justin's character, but also revealing crucial backstory and recaps for newcomers. While creating a character live is an innovative approach to a semi-scripted show, what's more interesting is how invested the community now is in Kira. Kira is not a character that's being introduced to them, she's someone they've collectively developed, put thought into, and in some ways, may now be the one they're most invested in. Kira, as a character, belongs just as much to the fans as she does the writers of the show (which raises some interesting copyright questions).
For fans who missed out on this episode's character creation, an important poll will start off next week's episode, which will finally begin telling this season's story. The audience will be able to pick the new AI's name: Autumn, Lilith, Remi (named for Remote AI) and Paige. It's another chance to grow invested in this new AI's character, and as always, the choice is up to you.
The next episode of 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' airs June 4 at 6 pm PDT, on Twitch.tv/artificialnext.