Human Data Collection for Artificial Intelligence
Interactive VR Installation
Since the first industrial revolution, automation is one of the major objectives in the development of productivity, i.e. to replace human workforce with task-performing machines. Today, under algorithmic capitalism and industry 4.0, scripted interactions are prone to stake out a territory in terms of employment in historic measures.
Artificial Intelligence disrupts a large segment of the industry – from the self-driving cars reinventing transportation, chatbots reinventing friendship, unmanned drones reinventing war, smart domestic appliances reinventing housework to e-government reinventing politics. How far are we prepared to hand over the control to our machines? Safety being a major social issue here, we need to pre-mediate outcomes and train our future robots in order to avoid catastrophic results. But are we 100% sure of what values we should be teaching to the artificial beings? Do we inherently have an ethical code of conduct that can be universally applied?
In 2017, Kitchen Budapest celebrated its tenth anniversary. We wanted to celebrate with something special, so we've decided to design and produce an interactive VR / Physical installation, that will be available for our community during a couple of dedicated B-day events in Budapest. Training 2038 is an experimental research project in a form of an ongoing data collection, that aims to portray general public's perception of the involvement of AI in their everyday's life and and the depth of AI's control over it.
My role was to design the user experience, how one interacts with the entity, how to make the process more streamline and user-friendly, so it's not needed to explain it to each person individually before putting the headset on. I've also supervised the Art direction and designed the sounds and music.
Training 2038 is an interactive VR experience in which a user is engaged in a dialogue with an AI Entity. Through a series of questions, the Entity seeks to observe how people behave, on what basis and how they make decisions. Based on this, the AI attempts to create a protocol that serves as form of codex for other AI instances in situations of its use in the social context , or in situations where AI takes over the professions normally ran by humans. For example, if AI ruled the state, it autonomously led the war, or what rules would an intimate relationship between man and humanoid robot have et cetera. Therefore, the installation has a subheadline "Human Data Collection for Artificial Intelligence".
We've decided to use VR as it allowed us to make the whole story and the questioning process more intimate and serious. The whole point of doing so was to explore the public's opinions on moral questions that arise with more and more AI-induced decision making being present in our daily lives.
In practice, the user selects one of six themes (categories) when the VR headset is deployed, asking him to ask questions, essentially moral dilemmas, which the user answers with spheres. Each question has two, mostly contradictory responses from which the user always chooses one, and on the basis of his or her answer, the entity handles the next question. It directly follows the answer. In essence, the entire dialogue system is a form of a branching dialog system - that's why each user experience is unique.
Each category takes about 10 minutes, depending on how the user responds. After answering all questions, the entity creates a customized interpretation of how the person responds and asks him to provide the headset to the next 'human instructor' beginning with the next session.
The whole experience is personalized, and the user entity all the time addresses the name they initially specify - we wanted to get the most immersion to make the whole process feel serious, so users would answer honestly. At the same time, the VR part is accompanied by a physical part - the headset is located in the center of a two-meter wide circle, which is surrounded by a matrix of 2000 programmable LED lights. They have two tasks - they give the user some personal space and provide privacy, and also they're the metaphor of the virtual space in which a person is located during the experience. At the same time, these LEDs reflect the actions that a person performs inside virtual reality – to make the installation visually appealing also from the outside.
Soundtrack & Sound design
The whole experience is accompanied by a custom soundtrack I've produced. Each category of questions has its respective theme song, that starts playing in the background as the user selects a topic. The Entity uses a runtime-based text-to-speech, that also allows to call the users by the name they provided and making the experience more immersive. You can listen to the soundtrack on my Bandcamp or above.
The Future of Training 2038
Training 2038 is still being exhibited on conferences and events affiliated with Kitchen Budapest or T-Systems. We are currently working on an interface where anyone can see how people interact with the installation, since the responses from each session are anonymously recorded. As Training 2038 is a research project, we are curious to see if there are some patterns in how people respond in different places.
Interaction design / UX: Filip Ruisl, Gábor Pribék
Code: Gábor Pribék, Jonathan Ravasz
3D modelling: Iván Rohonyi-Demkó
Sound design, music: Filip Ruisl
AI chatbot: Richárd Nagyfi
Story & content: Attila Nemes, Orsolya Forster,
Patrik Makrai, Judit Varga, Richárd Nagyfi, Szilvi Német
Physical installation: Healium Decoration