UK-based Carter sweeps up £1.7 million to bring gaming bots to life through conversational AI

Carter foresees its next-gen conversational AI being used in computer games ⁠— is this humanity's opportunity to "finally befriend machine"?
UK-based Carter sweeps up £1.7 million to bring gaming bots to life through conversational AI

Carter, a UK-based startup that's working on conversational AI to help games developers make computerised gaming characters more lifelike, has raised $1.7 million in pre-seed funds.

The round is led by Play Ventures with backing from Connect Ventures, GFR Fund and a group of angel investors: Chris Lee, Affan Butt, Jas Purewal, Rupert Loman and Steve Chard.

Computer-controlled characters have always been a massive part of gaming. But recent advances in AI could hold the key to making them more lifelike, allowing players to almost bond with them through conversation.

Carter is developing an API toolkit that will allow developers to integrate conversational AI, better known for automated chatbots and smart speakers, creating games characters just as confident at speaking our language.

The company's co-founder Danial Ali says he believes such characters could bring "unconditional love and friendship" through human-to-machine relations. It's a big goal and it probably sounds a bit sci-fi (a number of films have charted into this territory), but there is merit to the idea of computerised camaraderie. In some sense, it seems an extension of the role playing ethos that's already been embraced in gaming and beyond.

In a LinkedIn post on December 19, Carter's Danial Ali says the concept grew from a "bench-to-bench" conversation in London with his team mate Huw Prosser, where they spoke about the "possibility for humanity to finally befriend machine."

"We’ve all seen these incredibly meaningful human-to-machine relationships on screens growing up - ‘JARVIS and Tony Stark’, ‘C3PO and Luke Skywalker’ and ‘Samantha and Theodore’ to name a few," Ali says. "In reality, this technology has never spilled into existence at scale. The current barrier to entry for GameDevs and engineers to create interoperable, cross-platform AI companionship into their NPCs is (for the most part) insurmountable."

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