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The Organisation for Human Agency investigates the impact of machine learning on society and the built environment. We aim to ask the question: What are the consequences of an increasingly predictable world?

Self fulfilling prophecies

 

Despite cloudy sky's, ice cream sales will continue to skyrocket; the result of growing consumers exposure to analytics informed trends, delivered as advertisement.

"Just as global telecommunications have collapsed time and space, computation conflates past and future." James Bridle

What if behaviour was openly traded?
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Prediction Products

 

The idea of monetizing behavioural predictions originates in the early 2000's when Google was under pressure to generate revenue with a previously unprofitable search business. Shoshana Zubhoff's book 'Surveillance Capitalism' describes our current economic reality as a "behavioural futures market". Private experiences are collected as behavioural data, and machine learning turns these into prediction products, which are then traded Internationally.

What if architecture is designed around the needs of machines?
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Automated Architectures I

 

Harbour - By the mid 2030's, 30% of UK jobs will find themselves under threat of becoming automated according to a study by PWC. Today most of our built environment is designed around conditions for humans. But in the future we will see an increase in spaces which are designed for non-humans or cohabited by humans and robotic devices. Pertaining to this shift, the image series 'Automated Architectures I' is based on The Yangshan Deep Water Port in Hangzhou Bay, south of Shanghai (the worlds biggest automated shipping port). Here, the arrival of shipping containers is followed by their transfer (via STS crane lifts) to automated vehicles. These AGV's move the shipments to a stacking yard, where 120 rail mounted gantry cranes lift and deposit units. Finally, a human driven truck brings this cargo to the mainland over the Donghai Bridge, completing the process.

Why does Pikachu love burgers?
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Pokemon

Go

 

As the Behavioural Futures Market continues to move offline, retailers have begun paying Niantic for their service in directing Pokemon Go players to popular commercial locations. The click-through-rate (most commonly associated with online advertisement) might ultimately be superseded by the walk-through-rate generated by emerging augmented technologies.

What if architecture is designed around the needs of machines?
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Automated Architectures II

 

Airport - The image series 'Automated Architecture II' visualises the technology already implemented in Changi Airport in Singapore (the world’s most automated Airport). At Changi Airport technologies are first tested in terminal four before implementation at scale across the rest of the airport. The terminal thus functions as a real world simulation. The high throughput of people makes automation at airports very profitable. Here, an automated check in service is integrated into its departure system, alongside a bag drop-off service and passport control which are likewise fully automated. At the automated boarding gate however, a human supervisor is retained, as a means of overseeing the process. 

Correlation is not causation
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Spurious Correlations

 

Most machine learning applications are based on the correlations divined between differing data sets. The visual investigation 'Spurious Correlations' speculates on the potential outcomes associated with an increasing societal misapprehension of correlation as causation.

What if a city was designed around machine logic?
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Machine Logic

 

Amazon warehouse's organise their stock in apparently random distribution patterns, while in reality, this chaos is actually the product of subtle optimization strategies prioritising machine processes incomprehensible to the human worker.

Will reality adapt to simulation environments?
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Simulation

Environments

 

How will robotic vacuums react to real-life situations. having been trained on simulations created with randomisation techniques. And can designers hijack randomness as a design tool to counteract predictability.

What if emergency services could preempt emergencies?
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Increased Inequality

 

Predictive Policing, while a potentially powerfully anti-crime tool, also seems to portend an increase in existing biases (social, economic, and geographic), exacerbating already alarming inequalities observed in our judicial systems.

What if Amazon changed from a shopping-shipping, to shipping-shopping business model?
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Shipping/ 

Shopping

 

In August 2012 Amazon filed a patent for a technology called ‘’anticipatory shipping’’. Amazon hopes to shorten delivery times and increase sales by predicting consumer shopping behaviour before people make a purchase decision.

Proximity equals speed
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Cloud/ 

Edge

 

An increase in AI technology, especially autonomous cars, and their need for fast information processing will require storage infrastructure to move from cloud to the edge.

Is everything we eat associated with cancer?
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Impossible 

Choices

 

In a recent research paper titled: 'Is everything we eat associated with cancer?', a systematic cookbook review reveals that 80% of randomly selected ingredients "were interpreted by their authors as offering evidence for increased or decreased risk of cancer. However, the vast majority of these claims were based on weak statistical evidence." The photo series 'Impossible Choices' attempts to demonstrate how seemingly neutral statistical analyses is never free from human biases.

What if a tech company offered a housing service?
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Sharing Economy

 

Greater commercial access to data leads to improved prediction services, and economies of scale, leading to monopolization.

What if a city was designed around machine logic?
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Free

Will

 

Personal assistants already supplement our day to day decisions (in the form of phones and navigation devices). But while AI prediction can improve the quality of human decisions (Radiologists) it might in the long term undermine humans ability to judge the correct course of action, moral or otherwise (Pilots dependence on autopilot technology). When people stop believing that they are free agents, they stop seeing themselves as blameworthy, or liable for their actions.

Monument to improved efficiency
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Waiting Places

 

Increases in the accuracy of our predictions will lead to a growth in the efficiency of data dependent services.

What if insurance was payed by the second?
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Riskometer Prototype

 

A Diegetic Prototype, responding to the thought experiment: If we let our self driving cars decide where to drive, why would we not let them buy insurance by the minute? The Riskometer displays RPM (risk per minute) as well as DTL (days to live).

What if insurance was payed by the second?
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Smart

DIY

 

The drop in price of something usually leads to a diversification of use cases (an observation which might one day be exploited by DIY shops, which will gain access to data derived trends and be able to predict what’s going to break in the neighbourhood they serve next).

What if Accidents become predictable? 
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Smart

DIY

 

The drop in price of something usually leads to a diversification of use cases (an observation which might one day be exploited by DIY shops, which will gain access to data derived trends and be able to predict what’s going to break in the neighbourhood they serve next).