Our Friends Electric

Jon Rogers (Artist), Martin Skelly (Artist), Loraine Clarke (Artist), Peter Thomas (Artist), Nicholas Taylor (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDesign

Abstract

What happens when AI virtual assistants can mimic our voices, learn our habits, and double as our drinking buddies?It’s a future that doesn’t seem far off. It’s also a future Mozilla is exploring in a new short film and with a new bi-annual magazine.Today, Mozilla is releasing a short film commissioned from Superflux titled “Our Friends Electric,” and launching a new magazine titled DING, to explore the impact of connected devices on our lives, our society, and our future.The movie and magazine cover a wide range: You’ll see a stubborn AI bickering with its owner. You’ll read about anti-corruption bots in Brazil, and the harmful impact of connected devices on the environment. And you’ll hear from one of the founders of interaction design, Gillian Crampton Smith.The work is led by Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio, a research studio seeking to advance internet health in emerging technologies.“It’s imperative that we go beyond what’s possible with technology, and instead consider what’s responsible,” says Michelle Thorne, who leads Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio. “We wanted to critically engage in debates about the Internet of Things while offering something constructive in return. For example, we researched the current landscape of voice assistants and found that most devices today only encourage you to consume. We asked: what if they could also help you create?”The FilmMozilla collaborated with London-based design agency Superflux to create “Our Friends Electric,” a six-minute film about the future of voice-enabled AI. The film features virtual assistants that grow with you, AI that speaks on your behalf, and a philosophically-minded companion that accidently orders 2,000 pounds of organic horse manure.The film officially premiered at the London Digital Design Weekend at the V&A museum on Saturday, September 23. The prototypes in the film are done by Martin Skelly and Loraine Clarke.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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