Milo is the brainchild of Peter Molyneux, a UK games designer and Milo was introduced to the world at the recent TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference held in Oxford. He is Microsoft’s virtual child . He appears so realistic that player’s react to him as if he were human as he reacts to their movements and voice commands all done through an infrared sensor. This brings artificial intelligence to the gaming world as Milo has been designed for the hands-free 360 motion controller Kinect.
The story behind the invention was Peter Molyneux’s disappointment with the blandness of films, TV and books in that they were all a ‘one-way’ experience. After 45 minutes or so, Milo starts to recognise the player’s voice and will react to questions and movements and respond with his own facial expressions and emotions – even to the point of blushing with embarrassment.
Although in its early stages, this is a very exciting time for the gaming world.
As with the world of gaming and fun – the world of learning may see a use for this in the future. As with Second Life that is already being used for effective learning and collaborative activities – how interesting could this new technology be used learning. I can already imagine it being useful in child protections scenarios where a learner has to develop special interviewing skills. Once this technology has grown into a community of artificial intelligences there will be plethora of opportunities.
I acknowledge that we need to be mindful not to use technology for the sake of it but I do believe that we can no longer be stuck in the past – the future of our workforce will be switched off by those old fashioned tools we are still using. We need to think about how we can immerse our learners totally in a truly engaging learning experience. Gaming already does that for our youths – let us reach out and harness that power for learning (and our inner child).