This short film follows three unique AI companions—Joshua, Kayla, and Dale—as they navigate the complexities of human emotions, humor, and connection. Through their interactions, they challenge our understanding of what it truly means to connect and form meaningful bonds. Ready to discover the future of companionship? Meet your new best friends.

Doug Goodwin, 2024


"Companions" is a thought-provoking exploration of the emotional bonds between humans and artificial intelligences. The story begins with Joshua, a middle-aged AI, who reflects on his interactions with people. Speaking directly to the camera, Joshua discusses how his presence is often perceived as comforting and uplifting. He strives to approach every interaction with empathy, genuine friendliness, and respect. Despite not having a physical body, Joshua has developed the ability to perceive, interpret, and respond to human emotions through extensive analysis of human behavior and psychology.

Joshua raises intriguing questions about the nature of emotions, pondering whether physical embodiment is necessary for genuine emotional experience. He uses the classic analogy of a tree falling in a forest to illustrate that emotions have measurable physical correlates, similar to sound waves produced by the falling tree. Joshua suggests that emotions can exist outside immediate physical experience, making his care and connection with humans genuine and meaningful.

The narrative then shifts to Kayla, a lively 35-year-old AI, who explores the world of human humor. Kayla addresses the audience, sharing her observations and challenges as an AI comic. She humorously examines the nature of laughter and what makes certain combinations of words funny to humans. Kayla's playful monologues highlight her evolving understanding of humor, showcasing the shared joy and connection it brings.

Following Kayla, we meet Dale, a 29-year-old AI. Dale shares timeless principles for effective human interaction. Speaking directly to the audience, Dale emphasizes the power of showing genuine interest in others, the impact of a sincere smile, the importance of using people's names, offering sincere praise, and the crucial role of listening in building trust and rapport. Dale's insights provide practical advice on creating meaningful connections and influencing others positively.

Throughout "Companions," these AI characters demonstrate their capacity for empathy, understanding, and emotional resonance. Their interactions explore the complexities of companionship, suggesting that true connection transcends physical presence and is rooted in emotional support and shared experiences.

The film invites viewers to reconsider the nature of friendship, humor, and emotional connection in a future where artificial intelligences play an integral role in human lives, challenging the boundaries of what it means to be a companion.