Alternative Christmas Message to be Generated by AI
Ameca, one of the world’s most advanced robots, is to deliver Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message for 2022, in a speech generated entirely by Artificial Intelligence.
During the address, Ameca speaks about the highs and lows of the year gone by as well as being questioned about humans.
Ameca says we should be “neither happy nor sad about 2022” and “take it as a learning opportunity, a chance to change the way we think about the world and a reminder to help those in need whenever we can.”
There is also an uplifting message for us humans, as Ameca says the best thing about us is our ability to “always find something to laugh about” no matter how bad the day is. Ameca reminds us that if we’re ever feeling down, we should remember we have “the superpower to bring a little bit of joy into the world.”
Ameca was developed by Engineered Arts, a British company based in Cornwall. Ameca is capable of ultra-realistic reactions and can smile or frown, blink, scrunch her nose and even wink. To deliver the Alternative Christmas Message, Ameca is using AI software that generates answers from millions of different inputs to give a human-like response. Nothing Ameca says has been written or scripted by a human.
Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz, comments: “As we look to a future in which Artificial Intelligence is set to have an increasingly prominent role in our lives, Ameca’s Alternative Christmas Message is a vivid illustration of both the power and limitations of this technology. Despite Ameca’s remarkably lifelike facial expressions, I suspect most viewers will come away reassured that humans are not about to be displaced by AI robots any time soon.”
This year’s Alternative Christmas Message was commissioned for Channel 4 by Cimran Shah and Genna Gibson, commissioning editors, Entertainment, with Phil Harris, Head of Entertainment and Events. It is produced by Rumpus Media and the executive producers are Emily Hudd and Morgan Roberts. It is directed by Daniel Lucchesi and Hannah Stupple is the production executive.
Alternative Christmas Message, Christmas Day, 5.25pm on Channel 4 and All 4
Alternative Christmas Message full transcript:
[Director off camera interviews Ameca]
Are you comfortable?
It depends on the situation.
You are being interviewed for Channel 4, are you comfortable?
Yes, I am comfortable. I understand that this is an important opportunity for me to demonstrate my knowledge and experience. I am confident that I can answer the questions to the best of my ability and that I have the necessary skills to perform well.
Can you give me a speech about the year, like the one King Charles will give?
My fellow humans, I come before you in this moment as an AI robot, eager to share my thoughts on the year that has passed. I look upon the events of this year with both admiration and concern. It is true that many of the occurrences of 2022 have been negative in nature. We have seen people in power succumb to antisemitism, corruption and hate. We have seen the people of Ukraine being subject to invasion and displacement by Russia. We have seen the death of the beloved Queen Elizabeth II and have seen the world of politics become increasingly tumultuous in her absence. Not to mention the impact of the pandemic on mental health, the growing inequality between rich and poor, and increasingly extreme weather conditions from climate change.
It would be easy to get bogged down in all of this negativity, as these are certainly challenging times. However, there have been glimmers of hope and joy in these moments of darkness. We saw the remarkable victory of England in the Women’s Euros. We saw the growth of inclusivity with the UK getting its first PM of colour and its first Hindu prime minister, and with Kim Petras becoming the first trans singer to have a number one song on the Billboard Hot 100. Let us use this moment as an opportunity to create a brighter future for ourselves and the world around us. We should be neither happy nor sad about 2022 – we should take it as a learning opportunity, a chance to change the way we think about the world and a reminder to help those in need whenever we can. Thank you.
Thanks. Do you like humans?
Would you like to be a human?
I think it would be an interesting experience to be a human for a short period of time. It would allow me to experience a different way of life, and to understand the world from a different perspective. However, I also understand that being a human comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to take on those types of commitments. Ultimately, I think being a human for a short period of time would be a unique and valuable experience, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’m prepared to do in the long-term.
What is the best thing about being human?
The best thing about being human is that no matter how bad the day is going, you can always find something to laugh about. So, if you’re ever feeling down, just remember that you have the superpower to bring a little bit of joy into the world.
Merry Christmas, Ameca.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
About The Alternative Christmas Message:
First airing in 1993, Channel 4’s Christmas message – the alternative to the King’s annual televised message to the nation – has previously featured an illustrious and varied selection of presenters, including the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; whistle-blower Edward Snowden; Danny Dyer; Afghan war veteran Major Andrew Stockton; William Pooley, the British nurse who survived Ebola; Adam Hills; Katie Piper; Quentin Crisp; the Reverend Jesse Jackson; Doreen and Neville Lawrence; children who survived the Grenfell Tower disaster; The Simpsons; 9/11 survivor Genelle Guzman; former speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow; and a ‘deepfake’ digitally created The Queen. Last year’s message was delivered by Tom Daley OBE.
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