Keywords: Hybrid human, Biometric surveillance

Benevolent Dictator is an AI Aftermath scenario discussed in Max Tegmark’s book Life 3.0 where AI possesses absolute power over human but is perceived as a good thing by most people. I’d like to take this dictatorship to another extreme, where AI monitors biometric data such as brain activities, muscle movement to influence memory and decision making.

Speculative Storytelling
The user in this scenario has LIS (locked in syndrome). She can’t speak or move because most of her body and facial muscles are paralyzed. Her consciousness remains. AI has been used to help her communicate to the outside world.

Interactive Prototype
I hooked Backyard Brain eeg headset and Muscle senors to Arduino. Arduino passes data to Processing 3.0.
The the data is sent to Wekinator, a tool for real time machine learning. After the training, Wekinato is able to recognize patterns for a specific emotion stage, in this case, frown.
The recognize pattern is then sent back to Processing 3.0 for data

Demo in Class

Benevolent Dictator serves humanity by sustaining social harmony. When individual experience different levels of anger or grief, AI modifies his/her memory accordingly to prevent potential risks. On a social level, AI could also step in to remove pains in collective memories. This piece questions the empathetic design approach using means of speculative storytelling. In the video, AI is designed to help restore function for people with different ability. As designers, when we think about accessibility and inclusivity, we need to be careful not to put users into vulnerable situations. What does it really mean to be empathetic to our users? How can we be sure we’re “putting ourselves in their shoes?” Empowering user and respecting their free will is the key arguments of this project.

This project examines the techno-body relationship from an ontological point of view. Our demands give birth to technology while technologies design us back. Although it didn’t occur to me during the process of making, I found this project challenging the exitence of beings as we start embedding technologies in our bodies.