MIT Architecture - Design Studio: Interaction Intelligence
Concept: Merve Akdogan, Cassandra Lee
Time: February 2023 - current
Role: Object Design, Fabrication, Concept Design
Instructor: Marcelo Coelho
Given the undeniable power of large language models like Chat GPT, many have started to outsource emotionally complex questions like, “how should I ask my boss for a raise”?, or even “how do I break up with my partner?” Our desire to use AI to answer deeply entangled questions is reminiscent of tarot and other systems of divination. Yet comparatively, interfacing with large language models feels trivial and unambiguous. Instead of asking AI to solve our problems for us, how might an interface draw out our own intuitive powers and help us answer our own questions? Cyber Prophecies is a ceremonial object which invites people reflect upon questions of personal importance through dynamic engagement with symbolism. The device adds intentional friction between humans and large language models to critically explore how qualities of spirituality – like chance and ambiguity – offer opportunities for self-possession.
Cyber Prophecies does not seek to replace or augment spiritual rituals, nor is it a system of divination itself.
While technological artifacts, especially large language models, can feel like magic, comparing technology to spiritual objects obscures the human-born cultural, political, and social biases embedded in these tools.
Although we create and investigate magical behaviors within an interactive object, our aim is ultimately to explore the emotional artifacts embedded within them, only if they are visible. We use AI not as a creator of our narratives, but as a tool to reflect what is hidden within ourselves.