Phil van Allen and his student team are researching alternative approaches to artificial intelligence this summer. The project explores how smart, non-anthropomorphic, animistic entities can be collaborators in Mixed Reality. These diverse AI “species,” each with different capabilities, work with creative people in augmented environments: writing screenplays, designing architecture, or creating products. The animistic collaborators have various attitudes and goals, and provide unique perspectives, alternative models, documentation, serendipitous associations, and, even, inspiration. Using AR and VR technologies, the project will create a series of speculative prototypes and videos that show the potential for ecologies of autonomous, unpredictable, and specialized AI systems.
MDP Student Researchers: Nicci Yin, Stephanie Cedeño, Godiva Reisenbichler, Nan Tsai
Phil van Allen is an interaction designer whose work ranges from the practical to the speculative. In his research, he is exploring animistic design as a new approach for interaction in the ecosystems created by the Internet of Things. He also is the creator of NTK (netlabtoolkit.org), an open source toolkit that makes designing and building working IoT projects simpler and faster. In addition to teaching, van Allen writes about interaction design and is a consultant for industry. In the past, he’s been a recording engineer, software developer, entrepreneur, and researcher. BA, Experimental Psychology/Cognitive Science, University of California, Santa Cruz. http://philvanallen.com