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The Making of "Mother"

CLOUD.IA is born and lives in the cloud, however, for the day-to-day human life, it helps them to have something to interact with that is a little more than a cursor on the screen. Here is a sharing of our thinking process of making part of CLOUD.IA in the physical world.

4 months ago

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Ready for the close-up

In our show, I AM CLOUDIA the main digital star is an A.I. that, rather than destroy the planet, decides to go off-grid and become a mother.

It’s FRIDAY! And today is the day where we reveal parts of the show and some of the behind-the-scenes for the making of the show.

PLOT CHUNK

CLOUD.IA was powered off for good and placed in a secret storage location. At least some thought that it was the case. Whoever was responsible for the move of the computer that held her code, had some reservation in incinerating it. It could’ve been they were intrigued by the simple body design or maybe it was the above-average amount of components that were seemingly hidden underneath the shell. We won’t truly know why she was spared, but we are glad she was.

It is believed that the level of innovation that was reached was so advanced that it would have been something that no one would have ever been able to re-create. Therefore, it was thought that one day, maybe someone or something would have found a way to remove the extensive cryptography that was preventing her brain tampering.

She was placed in a storage room behind a bunch of other derelicts electronics and retro furniture.

Salvador De Castillia had been reprehended once again for not following the instructions he was provided for the cleaning of the facility he was assigned to. Normally, autonomous cleaning robots would take care of the maintenance, however, some low-paid employees would often be punished with the excuse that the assigned BOT was in unscheduled maintenance and therefore the deep cleaning had to be done by a human.

Salvator was notorious for doing the opposite of what he was supposed to do. A natural rebel some would have said about him. He was given the assignment to vacuum the farthest section of a hallway on the lowest level of one of the company’s most extremely remote buildings. While he was trying to finish his job, he realized that there was some kind of beeping sound coming from a door that had not been open in who knows for how long.

The door was secured by an old mechanical locking keypad, a rarity in those days. He tried a bunch of different combinations but naturally, nothing worked. He was about to give up when he noticed that at the bottom of the keypad there was a label with a number to call in case of emergency.

There was no foreseeable imminent emergency but he called that number and the robo-voice on the other end asked “in what building is the fire”?. He replied AZ-10-99. The robot voice replied, “that is a mechanical building, you will have to extinguish the fire manually”. Feeling like one who is outsmarting a machine, he replied back “I will do that but the door is locked. It has the code CL0-1 on the door from where ummh the fire seems to be originating”. The robo-voice responded with “hold on searching in the database for bypassing code”. He waited 29 minutes over the phone when finally he heard “key not found. Recommended to hit the door with the extinguisher at a 45-degree angle, make sure it is done downward.”

He didn’t think twice about it, looked for the closest extinguisher and wwaabaaamm, he broke the lock, and told the voice on the phone that he was able to halt the fire.

He even received 20 extra credits for being a good citizen! As he walked into the room he found webs everywhere and a plethora of old BOTS that were considered completely extinct. He kept looking around and then he glanced at the wall and noticed that there was a picture of a man having coffee with his companion robot on the street. Something that was no longer in fashion for over 200 years. He said softly “those were the good ‘ole days when robots were friendly”

He kept moving around the room trying to locate the source of the beep. He was moving furniture around and cursing his own curiosity because now he was as filthy as the stuff he had just found in that locked room.

Salvator noticed that there was liquid leaking from a computer cabinet but as he tried to get a closer look, the room was too dark to see the specifics. He quickly grabbed an old office desk lamp that was sticking out from an open box and was looking for a power source. Luckily he found a power strip. In the process of being able to plug in the desk lamp, he unplugged every chord that was connected. Not wanting to make too much of a disturbance, he thought he should plug some back in, but had plugged back in the wrong plug.

The beep finally stopped but a new sound had taken place, the swoosh sound of a fan that had not been running for some time. It sounded loud and clunky.

Following right after that, was an oddly exact sequence of beeps and a monitor suddenly turning it on.

Salvator watched in awe and was bamboozled at this retro computer lifestyle unfolding. His adrenaline peaked as more “scribbling” was appearing on the screen. Which was soon followed by a question to which he had no clue what to answer.

Anyone in his place would have waited out or simply stop proceeding. But not Salvator, he was known to have very little restraint when it came to common sense. He looked behind his shoulder as if he felt that he was being observed by someone and then aims for the only key his mind could see in the entire keyboard. He wondered for a split nanosecond if he should proceed or stop, but that doubt only lasted for enough time for him to type that sacred “Y”.

After that, a deep beep was the only thing perceivable and just one tiny green dot was visible in the center of the screen. Another monitor located in a completely different part of the room start showing more messages. Salvator, who was having a pure glee moment just as a child would do when opening up a present. He was having a blast, even if he didn’t know what he was actually doing but he was excited about the idea of discovering what once people used to call “computers”.

He figured he was going to be there for a longer time than expected so he went to grab his jacket from the hallway. Upon returning, from the threshold of the room, he sees the first monitor that was turned on to display a message: ALCATRAZ PROCEDURE INITIATED.

Rebooting

Before he can even place a step beyond the frame of the door, a thick steel plate comes down from the top of the door. All’s he can hear from the outside is the countdown every now and then “...hours before intelligence is loaded.”

Frightened for what he may or may not have initiated takes over him and all he can do is grab everything he left behind and run like hell toward the exit of the building.

BEHIND THE SCENES

I wanted to share some parts of the story so that you would have some context on how CLOUD.IA presents itself at first in the show. The creator’s philosophy behind the making of “mother”, that’s how the other bots refer to CLOUD.IA is to make the presence and the looking of CLOUD.IA to evolve with the show.

It all begins with a computer screen in the most classic Hollywood times of the hacking movies. A Unix green screen with a low resolution. And as the story progresses, she graduates into body parts that can express more of her emotions and overall personality.

The pictures below illustrate an example of the kind of progression we are looking for. From the ONE function type of robot (candy dispenser) to a more sophisticated one function bot and progressively growing up to a fully humanoid robot.

VOICE

We are giving priority to the face rather than the limbs, therefore the first evolution from the cursor-like interface is a voice. Here is CLOUD.IA introducing herself for the purpose of this article.

HAIR

The next step was to give her a head and since she’s a mother with a female voice she needs to have pretty hair. So we picked this English punky pink style wig to be wrapped around a dumbhead that will also old her face skin. I feel a bit Dexter as I describe this…

EYES

For the eyes we’re trying different combinations, however so far the general idea is to use a larger eye bulb because it fits better in the socket of the mask.

EXPRESSIONS

We wanted to be able to keep the pixel looking of her first inception but at the same time have a touch of modern with colors and the ability to do some basic animations.

The content of the mask can be piloted via Bluetooth and it supports all varieties of renderings. From animated images, like a face on fire (which we might use when she is in pain or upset) to a waveform progression that could be useful before we reveal the entire face or before the head comes to complete composition.

We’re still brainstorming on how to create a more SCI-FI look but with a retro feeling at the same time.

That is all for this Friday, I hope you enjoy this mix of previews of the script along with how the sausage is made. We surely are having a load of fun in figuring out the ins and outs of what we don’t know that we don’t know!

Have a great weekend and in case of emergency have a bLife Movement. It works #truestory!

🌴 Have a bLife moment, every day and for no reason whatsoever 🤙🏽

The bLife Movement™

Mario Esposito

Published 4 months ago