Accidentally Creating An AI In Self-Made #2

by Josh Davison

[**Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Rebecca is a character designer for a video game studio. Her latest game, Arcadia, is running behind because she hasn’t finished one of the main characters. She’s been testing their ability to choose, but a co-worker, Bryce, is pushing her to just insert the unfinished characters into the game. Bryce takes the data of one named Amala, and it causes the player to be unable to complete the game. Her boss, Busuttil, isn’t happy about it, and he gives Rebecca a strict deadline to finish the character build. Rebecca continues to test Amala, believing that she may be the next step towards genuine AI.

Self-Made #2 cover by Eduardo Ferigato and Marcelo Costa
Self-Made #2 cover by Eduardo Ferigato and Marcelo Costa

Self-Made #2 takes the classic science fiction plot of AI development and puts it in the field of video games. The first issue was practically a straight fantasy story with an ending twist revealing that Amala was in a video game all along. Here, we learn more about what Amala was made to do and her potential future.

The idea of artificial intelligence coming from the videogame industry is intriguing. The idea of “AI” already exists in video game discussion, but it’s a shorthand for the series of actions a non-player character can perform and not the genuine article of AI.

Rebecca is the tireless scientist in this equation. She’s not technically trying to create true AI; she wants to create something akin to a reusable character design that could make new and distinct choices across different video games. Knowing the bare bare basics of how video game programming works, I’m unsure how that would actually work. I’m unsure if the queasiness that comes from imagining life accidentally being created for entertainment is deliberate, and Rebecca doesn’t come out looking great for wanting to create something approaching intelligent life for said entertainment purposes.

Self-Made #2 art by Eduardo Ferigato, Marcelo Costa, and letterer A Larger World Studios' Troy Peteri
Self-Made #2 art by Eduardo Ferigato, Marcelo Costa, and letterer A Larger World Studios’ Troy Peteri

Eduardo Ferigato’s artwork leans on geometric shapes to craft the characters, and he creates a stylish and streamlined aesthetic that suits the sci-fi setting well. The age and tiredness visible in Rebecca’s face is particularly noticeable and is a nice touch. It adds a lot of visual personality to the character. Marcelo Costa’s color work is a pseudo-cyberpunk vibe cast against the bland tones of an office workspace, and it suits this book well too.

Self-Made #2 adds some interesting new additions to the story of an AI creation. Inserting it into the video game industry adds for some new twists, even if the removal from reality takes some of the edges off the tension (there is still tension, but it mainly comes from Rebecca’s career safety in this issue). In any case, if this setup sounds interesting to you, feel free to check Self-Made #2 out.

Self-Made #2 comes to us from writer Mat Groom, artist Eduardo Ferigato, color artist Marcelo Costa, letterer Troy Peteri of A Larger World Studios, and cover art by Ferigato and Costa.

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