“No Alexa, I don’t want to go into that creepy haunted attic. Let’s try the basement, instead.”
Thanks to the BBC, the conversations you have with your smart speaker are about to get a whole lot, well, weirder. The British broadcaster is diving deep into the world of Google Home and Amazon Echo, but this time around news isn’t on the agenda. Instead, the corporation plans to launch an interactive sci-fi drama that listeners can play along with at home.
Think Choose Your Own Adventure, except futuristic.
According to the BBC, the project is a collaboration with Rosina Sound and is inspired by the work of Franz Kafka and Douglas Adams. Computer games, such as The Stanley Parable and Papa Sangre, also reportedly influenced the project.
Interestingly, while the interactive-audio nature of the project, dubbed The Inspection Chamber, is sure to turn heads, it’s not the only update to the familiar storytelling genre.
“In this pilot, you’re actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice — we wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece,” explains the project announcement. “We haven’t come across any other interactive stories like this on voice devices, and we’re excited to see how people respond to it.”
Pretty cool, right? Someone actually found a good use for a smart speaker.
Importantly, the team behind the project isn’t limiting its sights to the Echo and Google Home. Rather, it claims to have built a platform that allows for the release of stories across other smart devices as well (heads up, HomePod).
We don’t know a ton about the story itself yet, but the creators insist it will feature “some great jokes” — so get ready for some robotically delivered punchlines. Also, with Alexa’s super creepy ability to whisper, we imagine a few unsettling moments will make their way in there.
Maybe, just possibly, one such moment will involve the character of “DAVE.” Played by Laurel Lefkow, the all-caps name suggests some sort of sentient bot destined to surveil and control every aspect of its owners’ lives (sound familiar?).
So when can you get at this interactive radio play? Well, the pilot is set to be released “before the end of the year,” so you’ll have to at least wait a little while. As you do, may we recommend you spend some time pondering what choice you’ll make when presented with a totally sci-fi story of a smart bot living in your home, monitoring your every move.