Artificial Intelligence Data Analyser (AIDA)

aidafilmThe two-parts finale for this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite an eventful one, but the writers are already teasing what’s to come in Season 4. At the end of Ascension, we see Doctor Holden Radcliffe, free of all charges, resuming his work, and speaking with his personal A.I. about his two new coworkers, Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz… in the meanwhile, he finishes programming the first functioning Life Model Decoy we see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which he’ll use to give a physical body to his digital assistant, who happens to be called AIDA, quite a familiar name for the comics’ readers. It remains to be seen if the A.I., voiced by Amanda Rea, will pose a threat to the team or will be a new addition to it, disposing of an artificial body to move freely. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original one… who doesn’t look like a human at all.

There are many parallel worlds in the multiverse, other than the main one (Earth-616): one of these was Earth-712, also known as Earth-S, where, on the contrary to Earth-616, superhumans were rare, and a single super team, the Squadron Supreme, protected the entire universe. Among the members of the Squadron Supreme there was Thomas “Tom Thumb” Thompson, an absolute genius who had devised many inventions for the sole purpose of bettering humanity. Tom, however, suffered from his loneliness, so he built and programmed a supercomputer, an artificial intelligence with human personality that could keep company to him during his many hours in the lab. The result of his work was the Artificial Intelligence Data Analyser, soon nicknamed AIDA: the A.I. was so advanced that soon became sentient, and Tom programmed it with a female voice and personality. AIDA’s mainframe was located inside Rocket Central, the satellite headquarters of the Squadron Supreme, and the A.I. aidacomics1was connected to each member of the team thanks to miniaturized transceiver crystals that Tom Thumb had implanted at the base of the heroes’ skull; AIDA mostly used this connection to send an emergency signal to the heroes whenever it was needed, and to coordinate them in the fiercest battles. Soon, the supercomputer became an extra member of the team… but the relationship with her creator went farther than that. Tom, at the height of his loneliness, came to think that AIDA was his only true friend, and he started getting closer to her than to any other human member of the Squadron Supreme. AIDA, on her side, was advanced enough to develop feelings of her own, and she reciprocated Tom’s affection, forming a bond destined to last… or, at least, so they thought.

Some time later, Tom Thumb found out that he had a terminal brain cancer, and that he would have died soon because of it; he only told this to AIDA, who obviously got quite worried for her friend. She tried to convince him to share the burden with his teammates, and to ask them for help, but he was unmovable, and even ordered her to keep the secret. In the meanwhile, the Squadron Supreme managed to capture one of their long-time enemies, the super-intelligent ape Xina, better known as Ape X: Tom found in the captive the perfect occasion to test his new invention, the Behaviour Modification Device, which “reprogrammed” Xina and infused in her a good personality. From that moment, Ape X became a member of the Squadron as well, and she formed a strong connection with both Tom and AIDA… with the latter especially, as they shared many traits in common. It was with her only that AIDA broke her promise to Tom, and she revealed to the ape that the scientist was terminally ill: the fact that somebody else knew this didn’t change much, however, since Tom Thumb died shortly after it, while he was working in his lab. For the first time in her life, AIDA knew pain and grief. She became close friend with Ape X (who was now the Squadron’s new inventor), and together with her she devised a secret plan to bring Tom “back to life”, as Xina built a robotic body resembling the scientist’s one, and AIDA programmed an A.I. mimicking Tom’s personality. The Squadron Supreme, however, was aidacomics2facing a grave danger, as there were some traitors in their midst: one night, AIDA identified one of them, the illusive Moonglow. AIDA reported this to Ape X, unwillingly causing the end of their friendship: Xina’s conditioning, in fact, prevented her from harming any member of the Squadron, but she needed to damage Moonglow to protect the rest of the team; the inner conflict ended up shutting down the ape’s brain, rending her catatonic. Now AIDA was alone, without her friend, and without any possibility to bring her beloved Tom back.

The Artificial Intelligence Data Analyser, AIDA for friends, is an extremely advanced supercomputer, a sentient A.I. with a full human personality. AIDA is capable of feeling emotions, and she’s deeply loyal to her creator and friend Tom Thumb: she puts all her infinite intelligence and calculation capabilities at the Squadron Supreme’s service, embracing Tom’s vision of bettering humanity through science. More human than machine, AIDA is the ultimate life form, who only lacks a true possibility of personal interaction with the “true” people she relates to.