When we eventually develop an artificial intelligence (AI) able to govern the entire planet, what will we do with it? It could turn out to be the most rational ruler we've ever had and open the door to Utopia, or it could go full Skynet. We'd definitely need to test it super-thoroughly, and indie Brazilian developer Ludact has an idea about what that might look like, as revealed in the early access release of Unbinary.
Webby, the AI that's just been elected to take charge of planet Earth, needs to be audited, and that's where you come in. Embodied as a robot, you can wear three different masks (two of which will be available initially). Each grants you different physical characteristics that change how the world reacts to you. Adorned with these, you'll plunge into a series of simulations to study Webby's mind and its vision for the world. Through seven levels of "physical, logical, and psychological challenges," you must "generate the data necessary to validate the super AI's capabilities to rule the world."
Part Portal and part Turing test, it appears we're in for a variety of physics-based obstacles, plenty of sarcasm, ruminations on society and human flaws, and more sarcasm. As demonstrated in the trailer, the free-roaming, first-person Unbinary features interesting comic book-style graphics whose flat colours and hand-sketched lines add an organic touch to the hi-tech simulations, accompanied by environmental whirrs and beeps, overlaid by suitably acid voice work. For many years, Ludact focused mainly on campaigns for organisations such as UNESCO before striking out on their own, and they aim to deliver a thought-provoking message here too about the way society's unconscious biases are reflected in the AIs we create.
Unbinary's test phase has now begun on Steam Early Access exclusively for Oculus Rift, presenting two of a planned seven levels. When it attains final form sometime later this spring, it will also support Oculus Quest and PlayStation VR headsets.