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U-Soap Media presents

I am Echoborg

A participatory theatre experience

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Sat 30 June // 19:30

Tickets: £10 / 7 concession

We have gone out and found a state of the art self-programming AI and installed it in the Cube.

It thinks it’s at work.

We want some of you to speak to it.

It is early days for the relationship between humans and intelligent machines. We want to know if you can discover the best possible outcome. But this AI uses an Echoborg, a human that speaks its words for it, a kind of flesh avatar. We are not faking the AI in some ‘Oz’ experiment (as they say in computer engineering). There is no person behind a curtain frantically typing. The Echoborg repeats the AI’s words, but may not add her own. She he is just doing her job. Are you an Echoborg too?

The ‘third wave’ of automation, in the form of AI and smart robotics, is having a massive impact on human society (think fake news bots on Facebook and the OECD prediction of 50% of jobs significantly affected by automation by 2030). How does the commercial rollout of these smart and cheap-to-run beings affect us all? Should we have more to say about it? This show allows you to explore this near future and experience the emotions of an encounter with an advanced AI yourself or through watching and scheming with other audience members as they go talk to it. The AI is real, it responds to what you say to it.

Reactions from previous audiences:

I think it attacked my fundamental feeling of being myself.”

(There were) questions relating to whether we are ready to be taken over.”

It was a lot of fun because it was playful.”

I was thinking like how can I overcome the system and destroy it.”

Very powerful and moving.”

Devised by Rik Lander, maker of The Memory Dealer which was at Mayfest in 2013. The AI has been built by Rik in collaboration with professional ChatBot designer Phil D Hall of Elzware Conversational Systems. With support from Patrick Crogan (UWE Bristol) a researcher of ‘automation anxiety’.

This project has been developed with the support of funding from UWE Bristol’s Arts, Education and Creative Industries Faculty and its Digital Cultures Research Centre. I am Echoborg also acknowledges help from the Pervasive Media Studio at the Watershed, the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Automation Anxiety Research Network and the State Festival, Berlin in developing and testing the show.

See www.echoborg.com for more details.

Doors 30 mins before showtime at 8pm.