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You're On: The Emotion Machine

6:00 PM, Monday 13 Aug 2018 (3 days 20 hours)
Centre de Design (DE) UQAM - Galerie du Centre de Design
There’s no time to waste, you’re going live in 30 seconds. You are a ‘ractor, and your job is to bring the humanity to an interactive story. All you know is that you have a role to play and lines to speak. You don’t have much in the way of context, but you do your best to provide the human element in a vital role in society. You’re provided lines and a leeway to interpret them. The question is: is it good enough? And who is on the other side?

“You’re On” explores the relationship and particularly the gap between the types of expressions we use and understand and what technology can "read". Technology has rapidly begun to both produce human-like performances, including speech synthesis in products such as Alexa, synthetic artwork based on deep neural networks as well as reproductions of human performers trained on recorded videos. In this work, the interactor sits in front of a simple screen and is provided instructions and interacts with the work entirely through reading the text on the screen and expressing emotions. It takes advantage of the facial recognition toolkit "OpenFace: open source facial behavior analysis toolkit" which analyzes facial action units in real time and Google's text to speech service. These are used as input into an interactive narrative built using the open source interactive narrative scripting language "Ink" by Inkle Studios. The story and role were inspired by Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age, or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer and Terminal Time by Michael Mateas, Steffi Domike, and Paul Vanouse.
University of Central Florida
Assistant Professor