You may be familiar with the name Cortana, especially if you’re a Windows user. However, did you know that Microsoft named its virtual assistant after a fictional artificially intelligent character from the video game series Halo? Cortana, voiced by Jen Taylor, is a major character in the Halo franchise, and she appears not only in the video game series but in novels and comics too.
Cortana is an instrumental character in the series, as she provides the player character with helpful backstory and tactical information. In the overall storyline of Halo, Cortana is an instrumental character in ensuring that the Halo installations aren’t activated. If it were, all living creatures in the galaxy would have been annihilated.
Since she’s such a crucial character in the franchise, there are tons of Cortana merchandise out there too. For instance, we recently found an awesome-looking poster on Amazon featuring the sexy Cortana, which Halo fans can hang in their living room or bedroom. There are two versions available: a framed version and a non-framed version. It also comes in four different sizes, namely 08x12inch(20x30cm), 12x18inch(30x45cm), 16x24inch(40x60cm), 16x24inch(40x60cm), and 16x24inch(40x60cm). We’re sure you’ll like it as a Halo fan, so check it out if you have the time!
That said, Cortana is undoubtedly a fascinating character, which is why this article will discuss this sexy AI extensively—from her creation, character design, and more.
Who Is Cortana?
Cortana (AI Serial Number: CTN 0452-9) was the leader and founder of the Created, a coalition of rogue AI. Considered a “smart” AI, she once worked for the United Nations Space Command. And because she was considerably more powerful, even among other smart AI, she played an integral role during the Human-Covenant War, serving as the partner of John-117 during the last days of the conflict.
The Creation of Cortana
On May 21, 2549, Doctor Catherine Halsey, the chief scientist of the Office of Naval Intelligence, cloned herself twenty times. They needed an AI for one of their operations called RED FLAG, a mission to kidnap a hierarch of the Covenant’s to force a truce.
Halsey believed that her third-generation volitional AI needed better material than what was being provided to her for this operation to work. She created her clones using the same equipment for the flash clones a few years back, needed for the SPARTAN-II program. However, she significantly improved their neural physiology, sacrificing other biological functions as a result.
Halsey ensured that the equipment she used was a secret to everyone else but herself, although ONI arranged the cloning process for her. As a result, only a select few knew about what Halsey was doing, but they were a trustworthy few.
The clones quickly developed, so much so that they already began to show familiar anatomy even on the first day, even though most of them were malformed. On July 29, Halsey removed all the clones’ brains and moved them to cryogenic units. The rest of the clones’ organic parts were reduced to ashes.
On November 7, 2549, Halsey authenticated the neural patterns of the H-1 specimens, moving them to AI matrix strata. This new intelligence Halsey created named herself “Cortana.”
If you’ve played Halo before, you’ve probably noticed how most in-game characters have snappy outfits. For instance, Master Chief dons his Mjolnir armor, while Spartan Locke uses an organic setup. Cortana, on the other hand, wears her…birthday suit. Of course, it’s probably not as weird because she’s an AI program with data conveniently covering the most important parts of her non-corporeal form. However, for many of us who have played the Halo franchise and hold it dear to our hearts, Cortana essentially becomes very human-like throughout the series.
Besides, her character design shows what game development was like during the early 2000s, when Halo: Combat Evolved was launched. Back then, developers could create a sexy sidekick character for no other reason than to provide eye candy in the game, and no one would bat an eyelash. However, times are very different now, and many gamers want depth in their companions.
Cortana’s “nudity” doesn’t phase some people, but others aren’t as comfortable. However, Halo’s franchise director Frank O’Connor explains that there’s a reason for Cortana’s discomfiting look.