AS I DRIFT through the lobby of the Nautilus, a derelict spaceship I’ve found myself stranded on, the shipboard AI starts playing music. I see a terminal across from me in the room. I go to it, and Event, out now for PC, starts revealing itself to me.
Developed by an independent team called Ocelot Society, Event wants you to talk to it. The terminal has a real-time typing interface and a conversation partner in the form of that shipboard AI. His name is Kaizen-85, he tells me. He was built decades ago. He has been alone for a very long time.
To what extent should we empathize with machines? Event seems preoccupied with the question. Kaizen is your only “living” companion, encountered after a disaster leaves you the only surviving member of an expedition to Europa. Through his words, and his control of the ship you’re trapped on, you learn about the space around you, the situation you’re in, and your potential options for rescue.
You learn about Kaizen, too, his personality tics and overriding concerns. It becomes clear that this AI has feelings, or something like them. He seems thrilled that you’ve arrived. Finally: someone else to talk to. Imagine being alone in space for decades. How would you feel if someone else suddenly showed up?