The Humour in Errors
Originally designed for the Siggraph 2011 Art Gallery, Phonobyte was created by myself and Alanna Kho as a physical analogue to the often humorous errors that arise from machine misinterpretation. Sites cataloguing the hilarity that ensues from phone text typos as well as many videos on misinterpreted voice commands highlight the occasional frustration and comedy that arises as people rely more and more on digital systems on a daily basis.
Our goal was to condense this scenario by creating a kind of physical game of “Telephone”, where users would stand at one of two screens. These screens would output (via projector) a low-resolution version of what was directly in front of the opposite screen. A microphone would take voice input, run it through speech recognition software, and output it via synthesized speech. In this way users could try to communicate with each other with often hilarious results. As with many art installations we hoped the installation would spark conversations on the topic of machine interpretation, but just as importantly, do so in a fun and interactive manner.