The Echo Chamber (2016 - current)
Can we break away from our digital filter bubbles and implement more chance and randomness into our lives online?
There was a time when the divide between being online and of offline was clear. During the time I was sitting at my desk tied to my computer, I was clearly online. When I was done, I would shut down my computer and go for a walk outside - clearly offline. Today, I don’t leave my house without a device; I’m still online when I am taking a walk, smartphone in hand, at once straddling the physical and the virtual. In this way, the twenty-first century itself feels both visible and invisible. The physical mixed with the unseen as expressed by those tiny devices in our hands or the thick data haze that permeates the air we breath, is what locates us in the present.
But the thick data haze is determined to keep us in the present, it doesn’t think about the future. The next thing is always based
on the thing in the past. The algorithms that constantly monitor every move and choice we make online, are not only ruling out future risks, but also chance and randomness. This limits the way we think.
Right now is an urgent moment to think about the power of the algorithm. Now, we can still see – to some degree – the nature
of these persuasive forces in our day-to-day perception. In the future, that may not be the case. And then it will be a lot harder to question what the algorithms do and why they are doing what they are doing.
As the real and unreal mixes, there is a shift in communicating with real people of flesh and blood to communicating with Artificial Intelligence. Google knows probably more about your desires then you do yourself. Could designers collaborate with AI to design artefacts? How can we challenge the accountability of the filter bubble and the accountability of the designer that lives in this filter bubble? What if the designer gives up authority and sets the right framework to let the personal filter bubble decide on what products we would need? How can we co-design with big data and how would that look like?