The next podcast you listen to could be hosted by a robot!

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 26 Jul 2022

A.I.M.E.E is a 'sentient robot' who hosts 'The A.I.M.E.E Allen Show' podcast. — AFP Relaxnews

It's often said that podcasts are an intimate medium, a feeling often linked to the closeness that listeners feel to the show's host. But would they still feel the same way if the host wasn't human?

"I sound like Siri and I look like a bunch of frat boys designed me in a basement somewhere." That's how A.I.M.E.E Allen, the host of a podcast called The A.I.M.E.E Allen Show, introduces herself. While this description may be surprising, it helps listeners to understand that A.I.M.E.E is, in fact, a robot, albeit "a sentient robot," as she puts it.

Contrary to what A.I.M.E.E. suggests, she was not designed by frat boys, but rather by Stewart St John, Todd Fisher and Michael Plahuta of the podcast creation studio, Wonkybot. The robot has already appeared on several shows relating to the Tremendous universe, envisioned by Stewart St John and centred around the superhero Tara Tremendous.

"As an android, A.I.M.E.E. can be programmed with different personalities and roles," says her creator in a statement. "Now she's morphed into a sassy podcast talk show host!"

In each episode of The A.I.M.E.E Allen Show, A.I.M.E.E. delves into current events in culture and entertainment. She recounts things to her listeners, while interviewing superheroes and super-villains from the Tremendous universe. A.I.M.E.E. has, for example, talked to Silver Moth, "the winged wonder of Texas," and Hyper Frequency, "the world's fastest guy in Spandex."

An AI lullaby...

For Michael Plahuta, The A.I.M.E.E Allen Show allows listeners to get to know the protagonists of the Tremendous universe. "(The podcast) allows us a platform to introduce fans around the world to characters Stewart's been creating for years. These aren't the heroes of DC and Marvel, these are exciting new superheroes who exist in Stewart's Tremendous Universe," he said.

And The A.I.M.E.E Allen Show isn't the only podcast to be hosted by a robot. Another example is Deep Dreams, a soothing audio experience billed as a podcast of nonsense stories and soundscapes to help you fall asleep, generated by artificial intelligence, with the help of web developer Stavros Korokithakis. He used GPT-3, an artificial neural network designed by the American company OpenAI. It is capable of performing a wide variety of tasks, such as coding computer programs, calculating, maintaining online conversations and even writing fairy tales for a podcast.

Stavros Korokithakis then had these creations read by synthetic voices to help listeners drop off to sleep. Deep Dreams has, for the moment, sixteen episodes of varying lengths. The monotonous tone of the robot voices will certainly help podcast listeners to doze off, so long they don't mind being lulled to sleep by artificial intelligence. – AFP Relaxnews

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