Nicolas Myers
2007/9

A Sociable Robot
Social networks, such as Facebook or Myspace, are a reality people using Internet can't avoid. They become more and more important and take a crucial part of our virtual but at the same time real world identities. The way these systems work leads to new yet somewhat limited relationships : you can either "add a friend" or not, say "yes" or "no". A binary thinking like this leaves no room for degrees of shade.

These oversimplified interactions are to some extent compensated by quantity - by collecting hundreds or even thousands of "friends". On Myspace the true quality of the service lies in the size of the network itself. But how can you deal with these such complex networks? Are concepts like "friendship" or "relationship" still meaningful when you handle hundreds of them?

Our project offers an indirect way to deal with these problems. A virtual robot makes and keeps new contacts for you by taking over your virtual identity. Your only control over its decisions is through an interface representing the network itself : a black liquid surface covered by numerous spikes that stand for each of your "friends". It is by altering the surface of this « liquid », that one can interact with the robot and influence his actions in the virtual world.

By putting this device between you and your network you abandon any idea of personal relationships in favor of an ever increasing complex game.



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