THE CHATTING ROOM (2015)
The Chatting Room uses speech-to-text and text-to-speech modules and chatbot
algorithms to create an interactive environment, where the interaction between the
viewer-participants and the installation is a bi-directional feedback flow.
A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users,
especially over the Internet
Video by Jon Navy
The installation space accommodates five Wobbly-Bots, robots that use speech and sound for interaction with people and between themselves. Each Wobbly-Bot encapsulates a small computer, microphone, speaker, and a sensor. When visitors traverse the installation space, Wobbly-Bots feel their presence and attempt a conversation. As viewers walk through the room, they may invoke multiple conversations. When a person leaves a conversation with a robot, another robot picks it up and the two robots talk to each other. Eventually the entire crowd is chatting. As viewers step aside, the conversation between the Wobbly-Bots continues, creating the effect of crowd noise.
Wobbly-Bots are separate entities, their memory and algorithms are independent of each other, but they are linked with a network that allows data flow. This network recalls the collective consciousness generated between minds through internet communications. Moreover, not only human minds are combined into this collective consciousness, but also multiple computational entities that live in the World Wide Web. Such entities are internet crawlers, marketing algorithms and online bots that collect and utilize information from their users. This work reflects on how the limits of our society are being pushed by current internet technologies to include not only people, but also computer programs and databases. While the computational abilities of such programs are being constantly improved by developers, the databases – which can be seen as the knowledge, memory, and experience deposits for these programs – are constantly enriched with every person's daily online activity. This work conceptualizes a fragment of the Web as a network of feasible, self-contained entities, whose everyday actions accumulate and form the undercurrents of the internet world, that we often fail to notice.
Special thanks to Cody Greer and Ken Marks