In creating Tacoma, we kept coming back to a central theme: What is “artificial?” In a world of artifice, engaging with the “real” becomes the exception, not the rule. I’m typing this onto a real keyboard, but it’s being translated into data displayed as light on a screen — the keys and my fingers are real, but the results of my touching those keys are no more “real” than a thought or an illusion. Where do those letters and words exist? On your screen? On all our screens? How many servers contain them, how many eyes are seeing them?
As unreal as they are, their effect is real, their presence is real; their existence is making your brain think these words you’re reading right now. In a world where so much of our experience is digital, ephemeral, mediated, is the abstract, the simulated, any less real to our experience of the world and of our lives than the physical, the practical, the literal?
And so, if a consciousness is capable of thought, reasoning, empathy, is it any less real than a human mind, even if it is “artificial?” An intelligence without a body, a perspective without eyes, a tangible presence without a beating heart — how many people do you know online who you’ve never seen or touched in physical reality, but that are no less “real” to you than friends or family you’ve spent hours with face-to-face? Their presence, their impact on who you are, can be as real as anyone else.
In a future where artificial intelligence suffuses every place we go and every societal system we live within, are these unnatural consciousnesses any less real or meaningful to us than the people we know? In a future where Augmented Reality overlays our vision constantly, showing us the world through the lens of digital information, 3D projections, and superimposed interfaces, is that mediated perception of the world, that artificial information that we see directly in our vision, any less our “real” experience of our lives?
The year 2088 is far off, but not so far. As you step aboard Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma, you enter a world where so much is artificial, but that artifice creates a new reality. Prepare to experience life where artificial intelligence and augmented reality define our day-to-day, where people’s assumptions and expectations about how the digital and physical worlds blend and become inextricable define their perception of their world. And in that world, where the lines are blurred and the boundaries shift, who, or what, do you trust?
Discover the world of 2088 for yourself in Tacoma, available now on Xbox One and coming soon to Windows 10 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.