Currently I'm working on Diane
: a public voicemail
of a fictional character; and My little PRISM
: a tool to observe your friends' social life. Both are internet-based projects that assume user involvement.
Diane is a fictional character that you can speak to. You can send her audio messages using your phone as you would to anyone else. On the next day you will receive her public voicemail consisting of audio messages sent by other users.
This is a simple way to speak to non-human matter and see how other people interact with it. Feel free to try out the public alpha version of diane.ai
The name “Diane” is referencing Dale Cooper's never-seen assistant in the well known “Twin Peaks” series by David Lynch. Picture: © David Lynch & Mark Frost
It is a mysterious problem to socialise the most social thing in human nature: speech. Texts are social; most of the produced pictures and videos became social, but audio has not. My thought is that it's just because of the GUI-centric technical world that we have now.
But things are changing fast: we are already at 95% accuracy of voice recognition and we will be speaking with our computers very soon. The transition to algorithms with personal names is even closer. It's now more native to us that conversational agents have identities; we assume that they remember all previous conversations and are social by default. And it's easier to invent an imaginary person than to talk to yourself.