A machine interpretation

How we greet or say sorry

Exhibited at the INTIMACY 2018, Science Gallery, Dublin from 19.10.18 - 24.02.19.
The exhibitions asks what human connection is made of. Speculative project exploring the themes on intimacy in surprising and unusual ways.

When we imagine the future, we imagine a world where technological innovation and artificial intelligence in particular is part of our world. We experience, enjoy, see and get a sense of meaning and our surroundings with the help of these technologies. Through this project, Promila wanted to elaborate on how machines and algorithms might look at our lives, and our ways of working. The piece shows how algorithmic logic might decipher and extrapolate a basic and common yet complex intimate moment like greeting someone, or apologising to someone.

Greeting or apologising to a person has contextual, cultural, relational and metaphorical values. It is common for us to try to understand and access the situation and accordingly figure out how to greet or apologise in a particular moment.

Imagine the following scenario: two individuals meet each other after a long time. They were old friends, but lost touch. They have uncountable stories and shared moments, and when they meet, it might lead to a whole-hearted hug. Now imagine the same scenario, but with a twist: some sort of misunderstanding forced the pair to not stay in touch. This small twist will completely change the way these two individuals will greet each other. There are complex emotions associated with these moments. However, when we try to decipher this simple interaction in a machine’s language, it might look like set of logic and rules; parameters considered and designed to guide how a machine might behave best in such intimate moments. The following work tries to showcase these set of rules and logic of machines' interpretation.

Greeting Etiquette:
The proper way of greeting in the public setting.

Each time we meet and greet a person, we seek the most appropriate way to greet them. This requires an appraisal - and understanding - of the situation, the location, the context and our relationship with whom we are greeting.

This illustration shows how the machine tries to decipher the algorithmic logic and flow of how a person would behave or interact when greeting another person. The machine extrapolates and appraises different parameters, and emphasises potential links between these parameters in order to formulate the proper way to greet the person.

Greeting Etiquette:
The proper way of greeting in the home setting.

Our behaviour changes significantly when we meet and greet a person at home compared to greeting the same person in a public space.

The illustration explains these differences based on the context and setting, where the machine extrapolates and appraises parameters including whether the meeting was due to an invitation, or whether it was a surprise visit.

Apology Etiquette:
The proper way of saying sorry.

Saying sorry is quite common in a scenario where one is at fault. This illustration focuses on the scenario of a commuter train where one person has pushed into another. This action can be seen in different lights, and the appropriate apology varies based on the context, setting and the people involved.

In this illustration, we showcase an algorithmic flow and logic of this simple scenario. The machine extrapolates and appraises the scenario by looking into physical parameters like location, context, setting as well as emotional parameters and functions like the relationship between the people and the intention behind the pushing action.

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