'The Winston Show' Launches a New Era of Real-time Interactive Entertainment
The main benefit of this computing model is, of course, is that you can continually feed animation to the device. It’s not bound by a preset library. As Podesta explained, “Because we’re listening to you and want to respond back in a believable way, we need to harness computing power that is not on the device. The iPad is a wonderful platform. But because we have this huge amount of computing power in the cloud, we can do a lot more than you would normally be able to do in an app.” Their technology works fast enough to make the interactive processing transparent to the user.
Interactive applications, especially for kids, probably number in the billions. Every personal computing platform released since the Commodore VIC 20 has boasted a wide range of interactive games and educational programs for kids. So what makes this program unique? As Podesta described, instead of “controlling” characters, activities and environment, you’re “interacting” with them. You never know how they’re going to react or what they’re going to say. “These characters react to things based on how your conversation is going. That leads to having a believable relationship. That’s what makes all of us real. We have opinions. We react to things. Having a conversation with Winston is very different from making him walk across the screen and punch something. This is not a game. It’s closer to a live ‘show’ than a pre-scripted linear format. Users interact with engaging characters, engaging worlds and engaging conversation.”
Podesta continued, “Computers don’t make great characters. Artists do. This is just a different way of storytelling.” One major point Bobby stressed was that unlike traditional artificial intelligence programming, they weren’t trying to create something real. They were trying to create something believable. Plus, they’re doing it with entertainment. “I’m not trying to fool you into thinking there is a human on the other side. I’m trying to entertain you by your believing in the character that is being presented. That’s a very big difference.”
Dan Sarto is editor-in-chief and publisher of Animation World Network.