I like joking about, and commenting on, modern "AI" (which doesn't actually have any intelligence). That last panel certainly does that, but that was more of a bonus.
The main thing I wanted to establish was that this wasn't an actual thinking person for Hope to talk to.
She has a magic creation she can play games with. Which, admittedly, is neat.
Even though I'm the person writing this, and I know for a fact they're canonically not sentient, I'm SUPER uncomfortable referring to this artificial game opponent as "a thing," or "it." It doesn't feel natural at all, because they're talking. My brain is yelling "person person person" at me.
In season two of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the doctor character is Dr. Pulaski. At first, she doesn't treat the android character, Data, as a living thing, and it actually hurts my suspension of disbelief due to how instinctively natural projecting humanity onto things is for humans.
I could easily buy her being prejudiced, hostile, uncomfortable with the idea, actively reminding herself that he's a machine and making an effort to think of him, and treat him, as a machine, and more, but just "whatever, he's a machine," easy as you like, no gut reaction conflict?
I buy the fact that she's talking to an android while traveling faster than the speed of light more than I buy that.
EDIT - I am referring only to the instinctive gut reaction that would classify an android as a literal living being.