The Echoborg Media Art Project

This presentation introduces a media arts project collaboration that explores aspects of the mediated and automated future currently in development. The project deploys a ChatBot-based system in a fictional near future scenario to provide participants with an unsettling experience of the future of work. Project creator Rik Lander will speak about the conception of the work as media art and theatrical piece. Phil Hall of Elzware Conversation Systems will overview his involvement in the project as AI and ChatBot designer. In his role as research coordinator Patrick Crogan will discuss the project’s progress and potential as cross-disciplinary innovation in the researching of digital cultural technological transformation.

Patrick Crogan is Associate Professor of Digital Cultures at UWE Bristol. He researches a range of digital cultural forms from videogames to drones to animation. He wrote Gameplay Mode: War, Simulation and Technoculture (2010). He is an expert in the work of philosopher of technology, Bernard Stiegler. He is Co-I of the AHRC Automation Anxiety network.

Phil D Hall has been engaged in the creation and design of commercially viable Conversational Artificial Intelligence for the last 16 years. His interest is in building and consulting on semi-automated information gathering and ChatBot delivery, particularly with respect to infotainment, healthcare and education. He is a keen supporter of online community and culture and a champion of acceptable ethics and privacy in cyberspace.

Rik Lander is an artist who creates live events where audience members become players with agency over events in the story. Rather than experiencing emotions via empathy with actors, players experience them themselves. He is also Senior Lecturer in Art and Design at UWE Bristol.