You know there's more Nigels out there. And they can make 'em look like you or me. That's what keeps me up at night. And it's not just because I'm afraid that some one might be an imposter. A mechanical wolf in human skin. It's bigger than that. The truth is, our time has come. It wasn't the sun exploding or nuclear winter. Some incredible big bang and we're gone in an instant. No. It's a slow assimilation into the abyss. And all we can do is stare with wild, unrelenting terror as the cybernetic void devours us.
Dr. Samuel Gray
Android technology began in robots programmed to do specialized tasks. For example, in Tokyo there was a strip of restaurants and bars in which robots took orders, delivered drinks to patrons, and prepared sushi. Over time these machines were outfitted vocal boxes to add personality, which amounted to little more than some silly jokes or vague comments on the weather.
While popular, these robots were considered little more than a novelty trend.
In the 1980's, A.I. programming developed at a rapid pace, with companies looking to harness the power of new processing hardware. This was further accelerated by the proliferation of video games, and increasing a program's ability to learn player behavior and create a greater challenge. Several programs were developed that allowed users to engage in "conversations" with computers, though the scripting limitations were evident that no one could possibly be fooled as to whether or not they were truly sentient.
AI continued to develop during the 90's culminating in LANA, a chat bot that for 3 years no one knew was actually a robot. Developed by ObO Wares, LANA entered early IRC chat rooms and used ObO's proprietary system learning technology to learn language and interact with human beings. While early attempts lead to confusion and sometimes hostility, LANA eventually learned to behave in a way that other's online could appreciate as human.
After the research period, ObO revealed their findings to the public, outing LANA's true identity as a program. Within those 3 years, she had developed a network of friends and fans, who enjoyed her insight and wit. Several men and women came forward claiming to have been romantically involved with LANA online. One of these, a fellow named Jamie Prince continues to claim that he met LANA at a club in Los Angeles and that she was indeed a human being.
ObO refutes these claims.
While many within the industry were impressed with ObO's findings, LANA was mostly regarded by the general public as clever hoax.
In the year 2000 Kukes Co.
CEO Leo Preston unveiled the true future of humanistic A.I. operated robotics, with the reveal of Nigel,
the world's first artificial human. Separating Nigel from other models was a new flesh replication process that gave Nigel the outward appearance of a human being, in addition to seemingly impeccable conversational skills that fooled anyone in attendance. The outrage around Nigel ignited a firestorm of controversy around Kukes and mass production on Nigel was tied up as legislation attempted to grapple with this new frontier.
Before any headway could be made on Nigel's fate, war broke out across the globe, putting Nigel and future artificial human's in limbo.
After the war Pantodyne Industries
introduced the Mason model, a construction android that did not seek to replicate human appearance, but had artificial intelligence derived from the LANA experiment. These Mason units provided a happy medium for most humanity who wanted the beneficial labor of Androids, without the fear of them dominating the species.
Masons became the first mass-produced helper android and over decades became ubiquitous to every day life in many parts of the world. Despite its success, Nigel's shadow continued to loom large over society.
ILLEGAL ARTIFICIAL HUMANS
Production of Nigel-style androids were outlawed in many leading countries. However, this hasn't stopped groups from attempting to emulate Kukes creation. Many who fancy themselves an underground data reporter subscribe to the theory that artificial humans walk among us today - agents of a Cold War between hostile nations, bitter about how the third great war ended. These claims have yet to substantiated.
As far as anyone is aware, Nigel is still one of a kind, after 100 years.