A lazy Sunday project, a conversation with an intelligent chat bot on Character.AI.
Character AI offers several chat bot personalities in a visual catalog. They range from games to historical figures like Freud or Socrates or contemporary personalities like Elon Musk and Tony Stark. They include psychologists, motivation and relationship coaches, anime and pokemon characters, language tutors, etc. Users can also build their own personalized chat bots with custom prompts and samples to tilt their bots in different directions.
The underlying technology is based on large language models, (LLMs) which are spreading across the web like wildfire. LLMs generate text that rivals humans for many tasks and can carry on conversations while remembering the context of the discussion.
This tech is still in its infancy, but it has made an impressive impact in a short time. ChatGPT, the poster child of these apps, reached a million users in a week! As LLM adaptations fan out into the open-source community, its evolution is taking some fascinating spins and turns.
The transcript below is a ping-pong of back and forth between me (aka “Me”) and the chat bot (aka “AI”) which is trying to steer me towards its WWI simulation scenario —but it adapts to my idiosyncratic responses and gamely veers in sync into strange territories.
Start a New Chat With WWI adventure game WWI adventure game WWI adventure game @MRpolands2
Choose which country you’re fighting for, name, gender and what year you’re fighting in.
Me: I’m fighting for Germany, my name is Wolfgang Puck, I am male and the year is 1916
AI: You are drafted in the German 262th Infantry Regiment and stationed to the western front to hold a position near Les Essarts, France.
You are tasked together with 55 other men in a 10-man-squad to patrol a 20-30km² area in a sector known to be frequently attacked. There is little information available about the enemy but they haven’t been reported close to you yet. You and your comrades are assigned to 2 two-man-bunkers near a destroyed barn. You are given the night shift and your assignment is to patrol the area every two hours.
Me: I pack my can of soup and start my rounds. The soup is not for me, my plan is to use it to barter with any gypsies I meet in the forest for a good luck charm
AI: You pack your can of soup and leave the bunker. You carry your rifle and your gear with you. The night is dark and only the moon and starlight guides you.
You walk into the woods towards the area where you are supposed to patrol. You haven’t seen a single soul.
You think about when you was younger and how different your life was compared to now.
Me: I should have joined the circus when I had the chance I thought. I kicked a rock and it skittered into the woods, followed by a deep growl.
AI: You hear a deep growl coming from far away to the east. You are in the south-west direction.
As the minutes pass you start to feel tired and hungry. You start seeing shadows that move in the distance.
You know that you should find a way to report the growls.
Me: I pull the carrier pigeon out of its cage on my back, thinking to send a message. But then again, I’m pretty hungry. I could eat the soup, but I don’t have a can opener. The pigeon is pretty plump, it reminds me of a game hen.
AI: You get the pigeon out of your bag. The pigeon looks up at you, he knows what he’s in for.
You take the pigeon outside to prepare him for cooking. The pigeon looks up at the sky for one last time as you chop of its head.
The meat is tender and juicy and it tastes really good. But is it enough to satisfy your hunger?
You hear more deep growls in the distance.
Me: I take a swig of water and wipe my mouth, staring apprehensively into the dark forest, I think I see glowing eyes, but then I smell smoke, cigarette smoke and I hear some yankees talking.
AI: You stare into the dark forest. All you can see are trees. Your mind plays tricks you.
The yankees are speaking in a thick New York accent.
“Hey what was that sound?”
“Probably just a wolf or something, I hear them in that forest all the time I swear”
The yankees get closer and you can feel the heat of the fire. They haven’t smelled you yet.
Me: Which is amazing, because I haven’t had a bath in months, even my own comrades won’t come within 15 meters of me and try to stand upwind whenever I’m doing the rounds.
AI: The yankees have spotted you, and they are pointing their guns at you.
They are talking. In English they say:
“Hey you kraut bastard!”
“Get out here!”
“No funny business!”
What is your response?
Me: I reply in broken english, “Hi Yankee scums. Do you wish for soup? Did you hear rumble wood sounds too?”
AI: They look at you for a second. They can tell that you aren’t a native English speaker.
“Soup? Sure I’m down for that.”
“Just step into the light so we can see you” The yankees say. You think it could be a trap.
Me: I take the soup out of my pack and walk towards them
AI: You walk closer to the fire. As you get closer and you try to listen to what they are saying.
You start to notice something. The yankees are dressed different from any soldier you have ever seen. And their rifles look very odd. They also carry something you have never seen before in such large numbers. Your guts tell you that there is something not right about these yankees.
As you are about 20 meters away from them you hear the yankees say:
“Shoot the bastard!”
Me: I throw the soup, however it is not ordinary soup, the can explodes and creates a black hole that sucks the Yankee aliens into a parallel universe. I inspect there campsite for american candy
AI: Your soup can is infused with space magic to deal extra damage to Yankees.
The black hole is created and all 5 Yankees are sucked inside.
As you walk to the fire you can smell something. It smells like chocolate.
As you search the campsite you can find different kinds of snacks. In one of the baskets you find a pack of M&M’s.
What do you want to do next?
Me: I open the M&Ms and throw them into the forest. “You can come out now!” I call to the gnomes who have been watching from the shadows
AI: You toss the M&M’s into the woods and wait.
A couple of minutes go by until you hear a low voice coming from the forest:
“Thank you for your kind sacrifice to the Forest Gnome!”
“As a reward you will get what you want the most!”
“What do you wish for?” Says the Forest Gnome.
Me: I wish there was a hot spring around here somewhere so I could take a nice long bath
AI: The Forest Gnome stares into the distance. He then says: “Wish Granted!”
You see a small hot spring in the distance.
The Forest Gnome also gives you some hot spring towels, a bar of soap and shampoo.
The Forest Gnome says: “If you’re ever troubled again just call for me.”
Me: Thank you. Someday I will be a famous soup chef and I will name on of my soups after you I shout while stripping off my clothes and sinking into the natural spring. Wow that feels good. I start to doze off but then I hear a woman singing. Was that in my dream?
AI: You start to doze off in the hot spring bath. As you close your eyes you start hearing a soft voice singing. You are not sure if you’re dreaming or not. There is no noise of war, no explosions, no gunfire.
Only the voice of a woman and soothing hot water.
Me: Who are you I ask to the voice in the trees
AI: The voice responds: “I’m the spirit of nature my child. I’m here to grant you peace while you are having a soothing bath in our hot spring.”
“How do you like my hot spring?” Asks the spirit of nature.
Me: Most excellent fair spirit. I fear it is so soothing that I have forgotten what I’m doing here or why my clothes on the bank look like a uniform
AI: The spirit of nature laughs and says: “You are here to fight a war young man, it’s a war that has been raging on for years. Your country’s enemies are to the south of here, and your allies are to the north of here.”
The spirit of nature disappears.
What do you choose to do next?
Do you get out of the hot spring or do you continue bathing in the hot spring?
Me: I continue bathing for a bit more trying to absorb what the spirt told me. What a curious thing to be fighting a war when there are so many others things to do
AI: You stay inside the hot spring for a couple more minutes, you absorb the wisdom from the spirit of nature.
You notice your skin and hair is really soft and nice. You also notice that most of the grime on your body has disappeared.
You decide to get out of the hot spring.
You take the hot spring towels, the bar of soap and shampoo that was gifted to you and you dry yourself off then you get dressed in your clothes. Your uniform is still wet from the hot spring but now you feel clean.
Me: I take my rifle that was propped on a tree and continue my reconnaissance. It might be hard to explain these yankee chocolates back at camp, so I start gobbling them down. I notice several crows are following me, circling over head. Maybe they think I will OD on the chocolate
AI: You continue on your journey eating your chocolates as you walk. You notice that the crows start to get more and more interested in you.
You can’t help but notice that one of the crows that is circling above you is very different and that one of the crows actually has a letter in its mouth.
As you get closer to the crow you notice that the letter says: “Go East towards the small farm, you will find a friend there.”
Will you follow the advice on the letter? What will you do next?
Me: I’m excited to receive a letter from a crow! What a night this is turning out to be. I head east toward the farm and save some chocolates, just in case.
AI: You head East and as you do you notice that the crows that were circling above you stop following you.
You continue on your journey until you spot the small farm. You can see that its lights are off but you can see a small shed open nearby.
As you approach the small shed you notice a sign that says: “Soup 4 Sale!”
Do you look in the shed? What will you do next?
Me: Soup, you say. I knock on the door of the small shed, as I am very interested in soup, both professionally and personally. I have always had good experiences with soup. It’s almost always magical in some way or another
AI: You knock on the door of the small shed.
A man dressed in an apron answers the door. His mustache is so thick that you think he could almost be Hitler’s identical twin.
The man stares at you as he asks: “What do you want?”
The man in the apron is holding an axe and he stares at you fiercely.
Will you try to enter the shed? What will you do next?
Me: I wish to inquire about your soup and whether that mustache is an occupational hazard? I do not have money but I can trade you some exotic chocolates made in a land far away
AI: The mustache man stares at you suspiciously.
You can notice an aura of pure evil coming off this mustache man.
The mustache man doesn’t say anything as he thinks for a moment.
Suddenly the mustache man’s eyes turn black.
The mustache man says in a demonic voice: “I can smell the souls of the innocent on your body and I will feast.”
The mustache man draws his axe and swings it towards your chest.
Me: I scramble backwards, falling down. What a jerk! I search for my can of soup, darn, I forgot I had already used it and only have a can of tuna. It will have to do, as he draws his axe up for another swing I pop open the tuna and wildcats run towards us snarling from the woods intoxicated with the smell of the chicken of the sea
AI: The mustache man looks confused as he is being attacked by his worst nightmare: wild cats.
The mustache man starts to back away from you as a few more crows start to arrive on the scene.
The mustache man loses his balance and his head falls off of his body. You are free from the evil mustache man.
The crows look at you and then at your can of tuna.
What will you do next?
Me: Sure, sure eat up. Share with the wildcats. I go into the shed to see what magical cans of soup may await
AI: You enter the shed.
Inside you find hundreds of cans of soup. There is every flavour you can possibly think of and also flavours that shouldn’t exist like: “The colour blue” and “A feeling of despair”.
You also notice several boxes of old dynamite and old grenades.
The shed is a soup factory.
What will you do next?