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Machines that lie; workshop at the Glasgow School of Art

SELEMCA’s Robert Paauwe was invited to the Glasgow School of Art to teach 18 students (Product Design, year 2) about interactive prototyping using Arduino. Starting at the 18th of November, the students had five days to design and create a working prototype. To explore how to create technology that contains human-like elements, the students were instructed to create a machine that is able to tell lies. Machines that contain elements of fiction, but still look and feel realistically as products.

In total, 8 working prototypes were created during the workshop. Some examples: a harmonica that deceives the user in believing he is a really skilled musician, a clock that gives the illusion you have more time just before deadlines by speeding up and slowing down, a slot machine, that makes you believe you have great odds of winning. All these machines employed fiction to persuade users into using them.

For SELEMCA, the workshop has provided some interesting insights related to how designers use some of the theories in practice.  Most interestingly, the students of the Glasgow School of Art were able to create machines that used fiction to persuade people into using the product, with minimal means and in relatively short amount of time. Fiction (such as lies) are expressible by machines, even at a very low level of technology (using only LEDs, buttons, simple algorithms, etc.).

 Soon, all of the final results can be found here

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Robert A. Paauwe