I've struggled to use the wiki to its full potential, i.e including images. I have created a blog on wordpress with all of the same writing but including images as well. PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO SEE WORK FROM THE LABS AND IMAGES FROM OUR PROGRESS IN THE PROJECT
Also, Please note that I am not at the presentation due to my return back to the UK
Our Project: Free Will in Data
Comparing our collective previous knowledge, our group has decided to look at data and how it can be realised in a digital format. Understanding that data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis, we intend to use the topic of data as a means of discussion and a foundation for the research behind our project. Our individual research into data asks questions surrounding the topic and the discoveries from our research vary. Something we collectively recognise is the magnitude of data and how much is given and gathered on a daily basis.
Considering our own data, we questioned the who, what, when, where, how and why of our collecting and giving: we identified that data is given and taken almost unconsciously. Automatically whether it is qualitative or quantitative, we process it in numerous ways, whether performing a physical action or clicking a button on the computer. We questioned how much data we as a society are aware of giving and gathering and decided that ultimately the subject is disregarded unless it is deliberated in regards to money or an actual individual. The amount of data that is put out in to the world is disguised as unimportant.
Freely we opt in to give to give our data. When we go online, with each button we click we provide information on our choices and who we are. The information we provide is dispersed across the internet and filters in to our ‘digital life’. Looking at the example of online ‘cookies’, we are provided with a problem box, where the only solution is to click ok or an X, when an individual click ok they are agreeing to infect their browser with pop-ups and advertisements. We question this in relation to our free will: by giving away one element of data, we are pushed into a set of chain reactions. Through a collection of algorithms, we are encouraged to take another look at a pair of trainers or to book an Airbnb etc., the power of reoccurrence acts on an individual and they feel forced into feeling that they need a certain object or experience, our data is manipulated and becomes an influence on our behaviours.
Seemingly we have no sense of free will online. We are effected by a chain reaction created by external sources, there is a sense of cause and effect and the reason that my google finds are different to your google finds are down to a computer determining what is right for me.
Essentially, we find it easy to blame the internet for its capable ways in interfering with our lives and the information we receive, however it is important to explore that the data that intrudes on our lives is developed via an input and output. When an individual freely clicks something on the internet, they are making a choice out of free will to give away their data:
As individuals we think that we have our free will removed from us however the only people successful in taking away our free will is ourselves.
The group has determined that in the modern world we have sense of free will however, how we respond to our free will is down to the individual. We have concluded that our behaviour has the ability to be manipulated and influenced and data is equally a cause and effect of this. In order to understand free will in data, we want to conduct an experiment to visualise a sense of free will and how it can be explored in data. We intend to observe data and free will as a chain reaction, how this is reflected as cause and effect and how our conclusion can be demonstrated digitally.
Exploring how we can gather data to inform our research into free will in data, we are creating a small scale experiment: the aim of the experiment is to identify how active our free will is and whether we can ‘cap’ free will, observing these two lines of enquiry we will be able to collect our own data and measure its relation to giving and gathering data as well as free will.
Using 3 questions with basic I will or I won’t answer, we are reducing our interactors amount of free will by reducing their possible answers which might further express their actual desire or opinion. By engaging with the experiment the interactors are choosing by free will to take part, they are also removing there free will by restricting themselves to the two simple answers. The questions that we will ask are completely redundant to our experiment but they are designed to capture the crowd’s attention, we will ask:
Choose to kill the 6-year-old Adolph Hitler to prevent the holocaust. Choose to sacrifice the 6-year-old Adolph Hitler to save 6 million Jews. Choose to sacrifice the 6 years old Adolph Hitler for his possible behaviour in the future. As a group we watched a series of films on data to identify its role within the world, the highlighted that data can be equally terrifying and fantastic, it is essential to understand the power that data brings to a person, business, government, etc.
Citizen Four (2014) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4044364/
The Imitation Game (2015) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2084970/
The matrix (1999) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/
Using their free will the interactors responded to our experiment. We hung our posters around the art school, in second floor blaak and in Wijnhaven, 69 people took part.The experiment demonstrated that people are willing to use their free will but they are also not considering the consequences (Our interactors were not provided with any information on the questions they were being asked nor did they questions why there were being asked). Using the posters, we can identify and highlight that we have free will but we can restrict it, each individual decides how much of their free will they want to give away however they make an unconscious decision in the act of giving away their free will.
What we recognise:
We have free will We use and abuse our free will We don’t consider all of our unconscious actions Every day we make a series of steps that we don’t recognise We behave with free will but we are entangled with multiple different systems both digital and physical and that influence and manipulate our behaviour; the majority of our actions our unconscious and this is also explored in our online behaviour. We have concluded the amount of data that we give away and receive is dangerous and we wonder if we were aware of it, how would we respond? Would be happy? Nervous?Uncomfortable?
What we’re going to do:
We need to speak to the station managers at the interaction station and discuss a way that we can digest our data in to a digital piece. In our artwork we want to explore cause and effect as a chain reaction. We want to observe people’s behaviour and demonstrate their ‘free will’ in action.
Preparing Our Outcome
We are starting to think about making a product/project. We are thinking about how we can demonstrate people’s behaviour to themselves. We have considered how we develop a comfortability in front of a camera, like a facetime camera or a hidden mirror, seeing ourselves take part in our actions provokes is distressing. We are trying to replicate this in our work.
Our intention is to create a ‘mirror’ that is constant. The idea is to trap the interactor in a moment, where they have to experience their behaviours over and over, the choices we make are literally visualised and the interact can physically see the chain reaction in their actions.
At the interaction station they have recommended to us to use a webcam – a simple and easy means of displaying unconscious reactions. We are currently working on programming a system where you would see your behaviour replicated over and over and over.
We are using MAX, a drag and drop operating system that is a simplistic coding method.
Prototyping & Exhibiting
Placing our prototype in an open space, we have sampled the response to our project. The goal of the project is to create awareness and visibility of free will in giving and gathering data and so far we consider ourselves successful.
Our prototyping stage has demonstrated that our chain reaction mirror has the ability to make people equally uncomfortable as it does drum up humour, after being caught on camera we have observed people demonstrating that they feel trapped almost but also embarrassed in seeing themselves.
The project is best realised in a spontaneous manor, if people are aware of the ‘mirror’ then the response is completely different and controlled, by springing the ‘mirror’ on to them the audience respond with their free will.
With this in mind, we want to display our project in a completely open space where there is opportunity to view a singular behaviour but also how our behaviours intertwine with interaction.