Earlier this summer, I had the chance to speak with Christy St. John about her role in season 3 of the Emmy Award-winning series, Artificial. We discuss everything from shooting remotely due to COVID-19 to robot uprisings. If you haven’t been watching the series, this is a great time to start. Season 3 is nearing its completion and they’ve really upped the stakes this time around.

You can also check out my interview with showrunner Bernie Su where he discusses the new technology and format of the show. Check out the season 3 trailer below and start watching from the beginning on Twitch.

RELATED: ARTIFICIAL’S BERNIE SU DISCUSSES EMMY WINNING SERIES

Artificial’s Christy St. John

*Editor’s Note* The following interview has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

Josh Goldman:

So, in addition to being a new character on the show this season, they’re kind of moving into a new format because of the whole lockdown thing. They’re now doing everything remotely. How, how was that for you with kind of getting set up for that? I know a lot of people were talking about how they’re kind of new to setting up the camera and the audio gear themselves and lighting and all that kind of stuff. So, like for you, what is your experience been with kind of getting, getting into the mode for this?

Christy St. John:

That’s certainly part of it. Suddenly, I have to take on every role. I’m lighting on camera, I’m wardrobe. I mean, obviously, the Artificial team is there to guide me. . . The weirdest thing, as an actor, is that when I’m looking at my screen and like talking to a character, because I can see their face, it doesn’t look like I’m talking to the characters.

So, for me to look like I’m talking to someone, I have to be looking into the camera pretending to look at their face. So, the entire live stream, I’m looking into a camera, can’t actually see what’s going on. And that’s been really challenging as an actor to basically react to what I think is happening and then vocal cues.

Josh Goldman:

I can only imagine. Like, I do zoom calls and Skype and that kind of stuff all the time now, but I was never a Face Time guy. Like, I hate…  I hate doing like video calls…

Christy St. John:

I hate Face Time too!

Josh Goldman:

For me. . . it’s like, I don’t even know it’s that I don’t like doing them versus I don’t like seeing other people do it –  like the random person that’s walking down the street, on FaceTime, with their phone being held three feet out in front of them it’s just, it’s bizarre to me.

Christy St. John:

Oooohhhh, you don’t want to be that guy.

Josh Goldman:

Exactly. I don’t know why that’s the thing for m,e it just it just kind of is. So when I’m doing the Skype calls. . .

Christy St. John:

I have the narcissist problem.

Josh Goldman:

Oh, so you wanna be that person.

Christy St. John:

Like I can’t stop looking at my own screen. Yeah.

Josh Goldman:

That’s. . . see. . . seeing myself in my screen is also kind of off-putting to me. Like I just. . . I don’t. . . I’m one of those people that I don’t like the sound of my voice for some reason and then seeing myself on video is just a whole other ballpark, it’s just it’s a very odd experience for me. But I do it, so you now… I can’t hate it now.

Christy St. John:

We all have to now.

Josh Goldman:

Yeah, exactly. So, before coming on and finding out that you were going to be joining the show. I know you studied, mechanical engineering?

Christy St. John:

Yes, that’s correct.

Josh Goldman:

Where did you go?

Christy St. John:

I graduated cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering

Josh Goldman:

Oh, wow. That is awesome. So, what did you want to do before you got into acting? Is mechanical engineering something that you still do while pursuing the acting career?

Christy St. John:

I wanted to be a roller coaster design engineer when I was younger. I’ve always been a very much a left-brain, right-brain kind of person. So, I liked acting when I was younger, but I didn’t think that I would like the lifestyle. And I wanted to do something that was creative and technical because I really liked calculus, that was my favorite subject in school. So yeah, I wanted to be a Disney Imagineer.

Josh Goldman:

That’s crazy. I worked at Universal Studios in Florida for three or four years . . . I didn’t work at Disney.

Christy St. John:

Oh yeah?

Josh Goldman:

I have a lot of friends that work there. I did Busch Gardens for a little bit and then the Nickelodeon resort that was down there (in Orlando).

Universal was building some of the newer roller coasters while I was there and that was something that always kind of interested in me too, I’m horrible at math though.

I know everyone has a problem with IKEA furniture but like, legit it always falls apart on me.

Christy St. John:

Oh, my happy place is putting things like that together. Or like in the makeup room whenever like things break. I’m like, just give it to me also.

Josh Goldman:

You know, it’s funny. . .

Christy St. John:

. . . I like figuring out how things work, I still do that.

Josh Goldman:

I’m handy with electronics and like, figuring out what things are. . .

Christy St. John:

Oooh. . .

Josh Goldman:

And I can figure out how to fix things easily enough, but putting them together for some reason, it’s just, there’s some sort of like cognitive dissonance there where I’m just like, I don’t… I don’t know where these two pieces go.

Christy St. John:

(laughs) That’s a hardware versus software problem.

Josh Goldman:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Christy St. John:

So, you could be an electrical engineer is what you’re saying.

Josh Goldman:

So, with your background, how familiar were you with AI and robotics before coming onto the show?

Christy St. John:

It’s certainly something I talked a lot about. I thought about minoring in robotics when I was at Carnegie Mellon. I really like to code; I still work part-time as a web developer. That’s my side job when I’m not acting. And I like, basically, it’s that language of computers. Which is, in many ways makes much more sense than the language of humans… And now I [have] forgotten the original question was,

Josh Goldman:

How familiar Were you with the topics regarding AI and robotics that exist within the world of the show before?

Christy St. John:

Right, so I wanted to minor in robotics when I was younger, or when I was in college, and unfortunately, Carnegie Mellon, it wasn’t an option for undergraduate. But there was definitely, we had the Gates building, which was named after Bill Gates who donated for it, funnily enough, and there were robots there.

I remember there was a collaboration with the acting department trying to teach a robot how to act. And the robot was pretty bad, but he got laughs anyway. And it was definitely something I liked. But I think that, in my opinion, there’s two huge components to robotics and one is the hardware component model and one is the software component which makes sense. And in some ways as a mechanical engineer in this show, we kind of glance over the hardware components.

So, one of the reasons why making a humanoid robot makes so much sense because our world is built for humans, right? So, it makes more sense to have a human-shaped robot versus like the robot in Short Circuit, which is kind of boxy and maybe can’t fit through some doors. But then we just glance over that like she can. . .

Lilith can walk, and walking is like a huge problem for robotics because the ankles make no sense and we don’t know why humans can even stand upright. So I’ve definitely looked at it from both sides, but I would say more of the hardware side and certainly, with Artificial we’re looking at it from the software side kind of seeing Lilith more as a person but also a chatbox who is within a human shell.

Josh Goldman:

Right. . . And that’s a. . .

Christy St. John:

I’m certainly. . .that’s a long-winded way of saying I certainly thought a lot about it

Artificial's Christy St. John Discusses Her Character In Season 3 - The Illuminerdi

For more of our interview with Christy St. John continue to page 2!