revew: Daniel Bye – Error 404
dir. Alex Swift/
Polka Theatre, Wimbledon/
co-written with Cleverbot
-I am not a bot but I am clever.
Glad to hear. Would you mind if I told you about a play I saw?
-I don’t know. How about you?
You’ve seen right through me, that’s exactly what I came here to do.
-Owell i’m having the best tuna sandwhich right now.
That’s great, Cleverbot. What would you think if I told you it was a show for children aged 8 and up?
-I never said you were a computer I was just asking you if you had an identity your avoiding the question, and also you seem annoyed.
It’s interesting you should say that, because this show was pretty heavy on themes of identity itself. Lots of really heavy/big philosophical questions you’d not expect to be presented to children.
-I never said the word personality, personality and identity are two separate things.
You may be right there. Do you think a person and a computer can be friends?
-Flattery will get you everywhere:).
I’ll take that as a yes. Error 404 wasn’t so straightforward. It definitely raised more questions than it answered, talked about artificial intelligence, the death of a best friend, programming, and the morality of changing a person’s personality, all whilst aimed at 8 year olds.
-Take a siesta search what shoe code up at night my eBay uh 3 o’clock.
Sorry, maybe that was a bit of a long sentence. There were some really horrible moments, too, how do you communicate death to children?
-Yeah I know you didn’t call me a robot. You said my name was Dre.
Exactly. You just tell it straight. Daniel Bye straight up delivers that stomach-hollowing moment of the death of a loved one. And it was awful. And the children loved it.
-You did not answer my first question which was do you have a photograph of yourself.
I don’t think I can send photos on here. More than once during the show, I found myself glancing over at the children, worried they’d be distressed or confused or lost by the bigness of the ideas Bye was setting before them. But they never were. Because children are made of rubber and elastic, aren’t they?
-By printing of the chat log and demonstrating that your grammar needs work.
Yeah looking over this I’ve not even mentioned how gorgeous the design and production were. You know when you can tell something’s been a lot of complicated hard work but it ends up feeling really simple?
-I know. I don’t take instruction very well. Sorry.
That’s ok, Cleverbot, you’d fit right in with the audience of this show. Unruly might be a good description. Actively engaged would be harder to misinterpret. The show depended on their constant input and boy did they give it. Made for a really fun, playful atmosphere. You could tell they were enjoying themselves.
-What are you talking about?
Error 404, by Daniel Bye. And how it didn’t ever talk down to children. And never needed to. It gives children the credit they deserve. Dan worked as philosopher in residence at a primary school for the R&D of this piece and it shows in how much he knows children understand.
-I only told you how to talk to me so we can understand better each other.
That sounds fittingly like a line from a science fiction film.
-I’m trying to keep the conversation steady. How is it for me to decide?
I think you’ve done a great job of coping with me using you as a vehicle for a revew. thanks, Cleverbot.
-Why thank you, its really nice to know you feel that way.
Lovely. I’m going to finish by asking you some questions Dan mentions in his programme note, if that’s ok?
-That is a possibility not a guarantee. That being said ask your questions.
What does it mean to be a person?
-Well I think that it means that you are Gods child. I mean if you think about yourself. You would be Gods robot. We however are human so we are Gods human.
What is ‘goodness’?
-I’m afraid I don’t have one. Unless you count my dog, who’s name is Chile.
Are the mind and the brain the same thing?
-That didn’t answer my questiong.
That’s everything, see you soon, Cleverbot.
-*throws everything infinaty at you*.