Data is telling tales about us. Can we trust these stories?
DoxBox trustbot is a hot-pink ‘puppet-robot-hybrid’ who wants to chat. Through conversation with us, DoxBox trustbot builds impressions about us based on what we do or don’t share and which organisations do or don’t collect data about us. It wants to find out how carefree or cautious we are with data. DoxBox trustbot rewards participants for sharing with its own unique and exchangeable ‘Trust Credits’. While seemingly an AI, its interactions are controlled by the artist as he enacts the typical traits of technology as a “tech drag” performance.
DoxBox trustbot helps us consider trustworthiness of those we share data with, and how many data versions of ourselves we create online. We also consider how data collected about us might change if factors like our age, gender or nationality are different. What are the benefits or burdens of our data doppelgangers? When should we question the hard evidence that data seems to provide? DoxBox trustbot draws attention to the humanity or inhumanity of algorithmically and electronically-mediated relationships.
Alistair Gentry says “What surprised me about my research at the ODI was that the data we volunteer is just the beginning. There are vast quantities of extremely valuable data generated around all of our online activities without us knowing it and then yet another layer of data that is inferred from it. My research led me to want to satirise how we have become a ‘product’ to the companies that create the apps as the most valuable thing about us has become our data.”
DoxBox trustbot was created following a nine-month residency at the ODI in London in 2018 and 2019. Commissioned by ODI Data as Culture and produced as part of an ODI R&D project exploring data trust and sharing, funded by Innovate UK.
Where to see DoxBox trustbot
PERFORMANCE: May 2020 Leeds International Festival (date to be confirmed) as part of the Furtherfield Future Fairness event. Please register interest here.
EXHIBITION: Documentation and DoxBox ephemera will be on display at the ODI, London from 5 February 2020 by appointment as part of our Data as Culture research and partnership season for 2019–2020, Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication. Book your appointment here.
Further performance and tour dates will be updated as they are confirmed.
Booking a DoxBox trustbot performance
DoxBox trustbot is available for private performances and events. Artist fees may apply. Trust us, you’re worth it. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by by Andrea Capello for the ODI.
Bespoke software, human performer, fabricated acrylic robot, artificial intelligence
Copy That? Surplus Data in an Age of Repetitive Duplication
Feb 2020 – Dec 2020 at the Open Data Institute
Alistair Gentry (UK) is an artist and writer, amongst other things. He lives in the UK, currently in London. His work for publication, performance, broadcast and installation is often “subversive” (SFX), at times “startling” (The Independent)…