Applicant(s) Vytautas Jankauskas (as part of Cached Collective)
Occupation/Organisation Artist and designer
As Cached Collective, we would like to present our first collaborative project. The Cached experience is a critical design installation that takes a physical approach to personal digital data, by engaging with the repercussions of our individual online presence. Our social media feeds are analysed to create a psychological model of each of us. The Cached experience will give you a glimpse at how algorithms are gaining new abilities to perceive us and the assumptions they make.
Using 'IBM Watson' and 'Cambridge Apply Magic Sauce' algorithms, your social media personality is analysed and interpreted. These algorithms generate a psychological profile that describes your personality, behaviours, and predilections. Cached morphs this information into an immersive audiovisual experience, to illustrate just how your activities online contribute to the way in which machines see you. Based on the way you write, Cached presents you with a narrative exploring your character traits and consumer preferences.
Psychographic algorithms draw on Jungian personality models and correlations between character traits and interests to assume what kind of consumers we might be. The analysis of this sort might not be as precise as clicks, GPS points or biometrics. Nevertheless, the very idea that we are interpreted as social beings rather than quantitative datasets raises the data privacy discourse to a new level.
The discussions held after visitors undergo the Cached Experience, highlight the growing interest in data and privacy, as the algorithms gradually change nature. Notably less tech-aware audience that previously felt distant from such conversations (arguably due to complex expressions of the data such as GPS, likes, biometrics, etc.), will now be more engaged. More people relate to a reality in which an algorithm perceives them as sociable, open-minded, impulsive, or choleric, to conventional metrics. From one perspective, psychographic algorithms manifest a new era of user and consumer profiling, raising unprecedented issues. From another point of view however, also largely due to recent scandals, they bring crucial questions around data closer to popular audiences. We feel that currently intensified debate around psychographics and social media is a good opportunity to move away from already conscious and engaged individuals and groups, to more user-friendly experiences that would open discussion as well as the field of data-concerned critical art to new audiences.
Cached engages with digital literacy, as the project’s intent is to raise awareness and encourage informed conversations around social media, psychographics, and the role of algorithms in mediating our digi-social spheres. Furthermore, the project penetrates the strikingly biased framework of algorithmic psychographic analysis. It is done through the prism of social media, raising questions around data leaking, and often horoscope-type insights into consumer habits. In such context the perceptions and realities of social media and their influence on filter bubbles, societal fragmentation, political views, and beyond, is another point of debate often provoked by the Cached experience.
Cached was conceived during a summer residency in the South of France, the Hive, where the Cached Collective first met. We are seven people of diverse countries and backgrounds, from design to software development, and from engineering to poetry, dedicated to exploring how technology influences our individual lived realities. Because of the impenetrable way that modern machines function and our various levels of critical engagement with technology, we strive to design impactful experiences that can be easily understood by a wide audience. We make the intangible tangible.
For IAM we would like to present the experience itself as well as the insights drawn from our interactions with the audience, whilst also discussing the future endeavors of the collective.