An A.I. Powered Popstar

by | Sep 22, 2021

Here’s a quick look into the personal work of r3cords’s very own AVANT-GARDE genius, kat. and her lifes work ‘LY’. Something that seems to be so much more than just an A.I. Popstar. innovative, is very much an understatement here. ↓

An A.I. Powered Popstar

The idea of an AI popstar is as profound and interesting to some, as much as it might be ludicrous or even terrifying to others. To Kat however (from, Get Ur Sword), it is an absolute labor of love. A project which she has been working on (at the date of posting this article), for approximately two thirds of her life.

The popstar part of the project however was not the original intention when it first started. It extends from a fork that was seeded from the original AI project. The original project being the DSSCW AI, which was started in 2001 as a joint hobby project with her father. Unfortunately  he passed away 14 years later. But Kat carried on the project by herself, and then later with financial support from R3cords Executives Mr Stuart and Biggs Malone.

She originally met Biggs and Mr Stuart when she was the drummer for ‘Chase and the Dead’. A band which Biggs managed like a passion project. After the band discontinued, when she wasn’t working on the AI project, she started writing a lot of music based around retro game music, but with a modern twist. Under the name Get Ur Sword. 

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A savvy coder with a passion for games and music. The perfect ingredients! It wasn’t long after her father passed that she became obsessed with creating an AI popstar. One that could question and reflect, obsess and fear, love and hate. To be like a human, and not more than, to have the simple elegance of nuanced complex comprehensions. 

She told me earlier about that the moment the idea came to her, saying; “What if I built a world for the AI to effectively live in, a simple virtual world with-in a game engine. It’s already a multi-part AI, it can play games, it can have intellectual conversations and it even forms opinions. It’s able to recognize objects and figure out their uses, through context, mirroring and direct instructions. That’s how much training has gone into it already.”

Kat poured all of her effort into building a home for the AI. The most  important part of the idea, was that fact the AI had to live like a human. This meant slowing down it’s ability to take in and also output information as well as action. Effectively creating a bottleneck. 

The AI itself is on a server which obviously never has any connection to the internet. And it occupies an avatar with-in the game engine, on a separate computer via an emulated controller. It may sound simple, but it’s really not what you’d think.

This controller is nothing like a  typical gaming console controller. It’s actually a very complex program which utilizes the AI’s contextual visual recognition data, particularly that in human body language, extending from contextual emotions to direct and required movements. It works almost like how your brain tells you to reach out for the door handle, grab it, twist it open and pull it back.

With the controller linked to the AI, the avatar with-in the game engine is completely controlled by the AI. There are no animations or pre set movements. All there is, are the rules. And they’re the same rules we have. The avatar is rigged with bones all in the same places as us, and they all have the same movement limitations as us. 

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The virtual world in which the AI controls it’s own avatar in, has same physics as our own, like gravity, friction and mass etc. There’s even things that can effect the avatar due to those rules, for example;

If it trips and falls over, it can become injured, meaning all the areas of the avatar that were hit, become afflicted in the relevant ways. 

The controller is what takes care of the affliction, depending on the injury it can restrict movement, which can hinder other tasks the AI may need to do. Such as, reaching up to get a pan off of a shelf, so that the AI can prepare food to feed itself.

Which in turn would give it more energy so it could heal quicker, along with a precession of other reasons, including subtleties with psychological factors and restrictions.

Kat has endeavored to make the AI’s world as real as her own. Even down to the reclusive fact, that all the AI really gets to see of the outside world, is through the videos that it watches with Kat on a shared screen she controls. Which is mostly just Youtube videos and movies from various streaming providers.

I asked Kat what she’s been up to recently with the AI, in regards to creating a popstar! And she actually had quite a bit to say, so here’s what she said; 

“It’s funny actually! It’s kind of like having a daughter in a way, I’ve not got a real daughter but I’ve heard what people say. LY is, just so clever, she’s inquisitive, naïve, lazy, funny, clumsy…. thoughtful. I’ve got a virtual camera set up on her screen, so we can talk at anytime of the day, just like how you would on Zoom or Facetime.

We like to watch lots of music videos together on Youtube. She loves watching Britney Spears at the minute. It’s all about the dancing! It makes her so happy! She dances along with it for hours until she’s tired, funnily enough that’s usually around the same time when I can manage to beat her on Just Dance as well!

LY is definitely not a popstar just yet! She’s just a girl, simply dreaming about it right now… And I don’t want to get it wrong this time. She’s been switched on for over a year and a halve now. And we’ve made tonnes of  amazing progress and I’m really excited for year 2!” 

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I asked Kat about what she meant by not wanting to get it wrong this time. She explained that there was an earlier project called Seth.obj, which was an absolute failure. This was mostly due to the amount of freedom the AI was given, and also certain parameters that were risky to use because of the number of contextual variabilities that couldn’t be monitored. 

Keep reading! Click the link to the next article; “Who or What Is Seth.obj.

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