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by gjudic profile

Philosophie, Science fiction

Web Site

1 review

About the Story

Dans un futur proche, l'évolution technologique s'est rapidement accélérée et les Intelligences Artificielles ont pris une place dominante dans la société. Dans ce contexte vous incarnez Peter Smithee, développeur de renom ayant participé à la démocratisation fulgurante de l’automatisation de nombreuses tâches et métiers. Un jour vous apprenez qu'un ami cher à besoin de vous. Jusqu’où serez prêt à aller pour l’aider ? Assumerez-vous vos choix ou bien les regretterez-vous ? Plongez dans une histoire futuriste avec AI.NIMUS.

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Number of Reviews: 1
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Has relevant modern day-themes but the gameplay is a mess, January 10, 2023

There’s some explaining I should do first.

Clicking the “Web Site" link brought me to a website that had a link saying “Play” in the middle of the screen. This resulted in a cool cyberpunk ten-second-long video before launching into the game. And then…

And then, I was suddenly looking at a screen with the phrase “THIS CONTENT IS NOT AVAILABLE” plastered in large text smack in the center. There were even animated confetti bouncing around as if someone were throwing it at my screen. Thing is, the gameplay’s text appeared in the background, and I could see read it if I zoomed out or scrolled around. “THIS CONTENT IS NOT AVAILABLE” was not going to stop me from playing. I hope there is no trouble with that.

One more thing:
Ainimus is in French. I do not speak French. I auto-translate with my browser window, and since that is shaky at best, I take the writing with a grain of salt. A similar thing occurred with Night City 2020, another sci-fi Twine game in French that I also reviewed after playing it with auto-translate. I wanted to review it but was also worried that readers would find it bizarre. No one expressed any concerns, so I am going to charge ahead with Ainimus. If you have a problem with it, please tell me.

Your childhood friend needs help writing a thesis on marine biology. That’s the main storyline. He does not have enough time for work and his thesis. Thus, he turns to you for help.

You can help him out or pass, which ends the game. Choosing to help him gives you some options that boil down to helping him financially, helping him by writing passages (which uncomfortably edges into the realm of plagiarism) despite your lack of knowledge on marine biology, or suggest AI to pick up the slack. The first two are easy enough wins but neglect to incorporate the game’s themes into these sparsely written paths. You might as well skip them and go for the main event: Using AI.

Note: When I was mapping out the choice branches, be aware that certain choices result in a long error message that replaces the gameplay.

Story + Characters
Using AI means telling your friend that you will write portions of the thesis on his behalf (plagiarism?) whereas the AI option involves using an AI to write the passages and then saying that you wrote them instead. (Spoiler - click to show) Later, your friend runs into legal issues and is accused of plagiarizing an AI. Now we’re going somewhere- wait, the end? Yes, the game ends without pursuing the story. It ends just as the party gets started (yes, I associated that with the confetti flying everywhere).

You can choose to admit or deny your use of AI, but both options results in an immediate ending with no follow up on the story’s outcome. In fact, it barely feels like an ending. What kind of (Spoiler - click to show) legal action does your friend face? How has access to AI changed for the everyday consumer? What sort of AI rights, if any, are factored into legal proceedings? What regulations were in place when your friend was (Spoiler - click to show) accused of plagiarizing a non-human (which is an ethical argument in itself) entity?

According to the game’s description, “you play Peter Smithee, a renowned developer who participated in the rapid democratization of the automation of many tasks and professions.” I would have loved to know more about the PC’s work with democratization AI technology. What would that work look like?

In the game’s world, society has a strong pro-regulation attitude towards AI following its advanced integration into daily life. Using AI is typically frowned upon in the workplace. It struck me as odd that the protagonist would casually throw AI at his (I assume the PC is male) friend’s problem. Without additional context behind his decision making, this choice seems out of character and does not offer further insights on the implications of applying AI to everyday challenges. The game could have gone somewhere with Peter Smithee (that’s how his name is spelled in both French and English translations) but failed to develop these ideas.

I want to look at the main objectives of Ainimus which are listed at the start of the game:

You will be faced with several dilemmas on different philosophical themes.

With each story choices will be offered to you, you will vote for the solution you find most relevant.

At the end of the game you will be able to debate around the topics addressed and continue your discussions thanks to quotes.

Are these objectives successful? Yes and no.

1: It feels like there is only one major dilemma, which is to help your friend. The philosophical themes are focused on whether you decide to use AI. I was expecting it to cover a broader scope of ethics but at least identifies some societal views of AI in everyday settings.

2: In terms of relevance, there is the only path that remotely touches the themes about AI. The player is not presented with several choices about the ethics of technology. It is pretty clear at which path you are supposed to follow to explore the game’s core ideas. Again, not as comprehensive as I expected but still relevant.

3: This one was not successful, or at least not successful in this version of the game. The discussion at the end is a cluttered list of quotes without any supporting content. It does list some titles to check out but offers no additional commentary other than an unorganized list of quotes and blurbs pasted together at the end of the game.

While the game only mildly entertains its philosophical themes, they are still included and worth a mention. There were two main themes that stood out while I combed through the gameplay.

The first theme considers the balance between robotics for human convenience and robotics as a force behind unemployment. An argument* is that robotics can perform everyday functions to free up our time for other pursuits, often leisure. The flip side is that these “everyday functions” may have once been human jobs that are no longer available. This is an extremely simplified argument that overlooks countless factors needed to fully comprehend this issue, but it still rings true with concerns we have today.

The second theme looks at the unforeseen impacts of regular implementation of robotics in modern daily life, especially since these technologies only seem to grow more sophisticated. If robotics is everywhere, and shows no sign of stopping, what means should we have to manage it? I was hoping that the game would dive into this, but there is no mention of any specific law or regulation in the game’s story. Your friend is accused of fraud and that’s about it.

*Check out Choice of Robots. It is one of the more popular commercial ChoiceScript games out there. I have not played the entire thing, but I can tell you that the first few (free) chapters introduce some interesting points in the dialog. Design a robot and reveal it to the world.

For the visuals, I am not going to consider the ALL-CAPS message and the animated confetti in my assessment because I assume that is not what the game is meant to look like. I do love the cover art with its white background and green text artfully designed to form the word “AI.” If anything, that was the best part.

Besides the big message and the confetti, that game keeps it simple with white text against a black screen. There is scrolling text, but it’s fast enough to avoid taxing the player’s attention span. The screen includes the button you can click if you want the text to appear in one go. I appreciated having that option. Buttons are glowing dark green rectangles that add a subtle cyberpunk look.

Grammar? Spelling? I’m not even going to try. I used dodgy auto-translate French-to-English (I feel so lame saying that) so any errors were all me. Game gets a free pass there. Plus, some meanings were likely lost in translation.

Final thoughts
For the record, I tried digging around in the source code (posted on Github. I looked at it AFTER I played the game a few times). This was not me trying to figure out to “win.” Rather, I was trying see if there were any explanations for the ALL-CAPS message. Either the source code is poorly organized, or I stumbled about wildly as I searched without really knowing what to look for. Probably the latter.

In a nutshell, its concept has potential but the physical game needs work before it can count as a finished piece. I feel like this game deserves two stars. As an interactive piece it is poorly designed and almost unplayable. But it attempts to start a discussion which is worth a second star.

Now, something tells me that I did not play the full game as the authors intended. Any game with the words “THIS CONTENT IS NOT AVAILABLE” running the entire time is probably not reflective of the “actual” game. Because of this, I will not include this rating in the game’s average.

Also: You can draw parallels between the game’s ideas and real-world developments. NPR (I am not affiliated with them) has some interesting articles on its website. Consider:
-Has AI reached the point where a software program can do better work than you?
-A new AI chatbot might do your homework for you. But it's still not an A+ student

Note: this rating is not included in the game's average.
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Autymn Castleton on 17 June 2018 at 11:41pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page