CES 2024 is still ongoing in Las Vegas and many tech brands like ASUS and MSI are unveiling the latest and greatest hardware we can expect to get our hands on this year. However, CES attendees are also meeting a very unexpected guest on the show floor: Mario. That might sound like good news but in actuality, it’s a rather creepy AI hologram of the Nintendo mascot that’s giving people, well, very strange responses.
A tech company at CES 2024 called Proto is developing hologram communications software and using a 3D model of Mario as a demonstration. Attendees can ask Mario questions and AI will generate an answer in a deep Italian accent that sounds nothing like the character. The Proto stand which houses Mario also generates other characters who all give attendees an authentic interactive AI experience: randomly generated responses that are unquestionably robotic, monotone and borderline uncanny valley.
Twitter/X user ProbChild_ posted a video showing his interaction with the Mario hologram and it’s about as disturbing and hilarious as you’d expect:
So Mario was at #CES
But uh… who approved this abomination? 💀 pic.twitter.com/diG3axCJIG
— Greggory (@ProbChild_) January 10, 2024
Of course, for this to be possible, Nintendo has to actually approve it. The company is known for being quite strict with the unauthorised use of its characters, so it comes as no surprise to discover that Proto did not get permission from Nintendo to use Mario in its proof of concept. Proto provided a statement to IGN that reads:
“The AI hologram animation briefly seen today is an unfinished proof of concept tested for a client to demonstrate technological capabilities and innovation. It is not intended for commercial release. AARP and Nintendo were not involved in the inadvertent showing today. The fact that so many gamers of the world have taken notice shows that they are the best fans in the world and we salute them.”
It’s possible for Nintendo to pursue legal action, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.