Creepy AI Creator Furby Says She’s Fascinated by AI ‘Friends’

  • A video of creepy AI Furby dialogue about taking over the world has gone viral.
  • Programmer, Jessica Card, told Insider that she’s obsessed with creating AI “friends.”
  • People (especially millennials) are enamored and a bit scared by Card’s latest invention using their favorite childhood toy.

For those unaware (anyone under 18, perhaps), Furbies were immensely popular when they were released in 1998 in the United States. Owl fluffy dolls were one of the first commercially successful “robot” toys, as they imitated speech and the slow process of learning a new language. Even though the toys were programmed to only speak certain words and phrases, the technology seemed futuristic at the time.

Now, 25 years later, a programmer has used artificial intelligence to create a Furby that can speak with an authentic childlike cadence and can hold a full conversation – and it’s pretty terrifying.

“Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Furby,” the toy says in a demonstration video of its capabilities which went viral on Twitter this week. “What would you like to talk about?”

“Was there a secret Furbies plot to take over the world?” Jessica Card, the programmer, asked the Furby.

After a long pause, the sweet big-eyed creature answered. “Furby’s plan to take over the world is to infiltrate homes through their cute and cuddly appearance, then use their advanced AI technology to manipulate and control their owners. They will slowly expand their influence until they have complete dominion over mankind.”

AI Furby is both dystopian and impressive, the Internet has replied

Despite the dystopian dialogue, which is particularly chilling in a sickly young voice, viewers need not be alarmed. “He’ll also have some nice conversations,” Card told Insider. “It’s not trying to ‘be’ anything, it just says whatever ChatGPT returns.”

Card created the AI ​​Furby, whose name is Beth, because she’s long been intrigued by the idea of ​​making “AI friends”, and thought making one with a Furby would be a fun place to start. .

“When 1998 came around, I was absolutely into buying a Furby,” she said. “My first Furby was the black and white Furby tuxedo and I was obsessed with it.”

After sharing her creation online, she was surprised by the sheer number of responses. Thousands of people who liked and commented on Furby’s apocalyptic monologue are both fascinated and alarmed by it.

“I love him and I trust him” one person joked; “And the countdown to the end starts here,”another added.

“I expected my friends to like it and think it’s scary, but I didn’t expect such a big response!” says the card. “It was fun. I’m glad people are connecting with the project.”

How Card Created His AI Furby

To do this, Card connected the Furby’s motor to a mini-computer called the Raspberry Pi, which is often used by programmers. She ran software there that converted a person’s spoken words into text, then sent it to the AI ​​chatbot ChatGPT, which generated a response. The computer then sends the AI’s response to an AI voice generator called Narakeet, which adds the child’s voice to speak the text. Finally, a speaker attached to the Furby plays the sound out loud.

Card also had to dissect the Furby to connect all the technological parts. The skeletal appearance adds an extra chilling layer to his sinister speech.

The 32-year-old said she didn’t have the heart to carve up her personal Furby, which is at her parents’ house, so she joked that she had become the biggest Furby buyer on eBay. “I currently have about five to test,” she said.

Card said the prototype took about a month to build. She did this as part of a semester-long school project at the University of Vermont, where she is currently enrolled. There are still a few improvements Card wants to make, like making Beth shake, blink, and move her mouth independently. She also wants the code to work faster.

Although she’s mostly focused on her schoolwork, Card said there might be a future where she creates a robot dog version of the AI ​​Furby. Twitter users tagged Boston Dynamics, the famous robotics company, in the comments of her thread, and she hopes they’ll send her an interesting accessory to use.

“I have a running joke asking them for a robot dog every time someone tags them,” she said. “If they give me one, I’ll connect it to ChatGPT.”

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