With big data comes big responsibility; that’s the core message of The Datalogue, a four-part machine that recreates and exposes the data collection process, as well as the consequences of how it is used to persuade user’s decisions whether it's for political purposes or for selling furniture.
The machine was exhibited at WantedDesign 2018, where we sought to make tangible and otherwise invisible process, instead of clicking and tapping users immerse themselves in the machine through four physical interactions, at each, we collected a piece of data using prompts that may appear fun and innocuous but helped build a profile of the attendees. After going through The Datalogue, came the big reveal where attendees learn how each data point revealed something about their personality.
We replicated on a smaller scale the personality quiz that Cambridge Analytica used to gather unauthorized data from over 87 million users worldwide. Each of the four prompts and their categories was drawn directly from a PNAS scientific paper.
The paper details how “likes” on Facebook correlate with an individual’s personality traits. For example, liking milkshakes indicate you are not into drugs or liking curly fries relates to high IQ. These seemed ridiculous but have worked to build user’s personality profiles, using this information to manipulate purchasing decisions, and even more striking political elections. The Datalogue aggregates participants’ data points through four interactions, shedding some light on this process to show how our data is being used.
HOW IT WORKS
Upon entering the exhibit, participants were given a card, where each of their answers was marked. What all of this means was not revealed until they went through it all.
1 The Hamster Wheel attracts guests into the exhibition with its carnival-like nature. Once a participant steps into the wheel, they are prompted with the question “Who do you admire?” and given four choices: Indiana Jones, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie or Steve Jobs.
2 The Claw, here participants are asked, “Which of the following individuals would you want to interview?” Again, they are given four choices: A Police Commissioner, An Emergency Physician, A Serial Killer, and Wes Anderson.
3 The Crank looks into the dark future when your job is fully automated by robots and it’s time to choose a new career: Fashion Model, Fanfiction Writer, Actor or Professional Gamer.
4 The Selector, in the final interaction guests, are asked about their search history, would we most likely find Scrapbooking, Hunger Games, Sports Nation, or WeightWatchers?
The Final Reveal, guests receive their profile, each question reveals a different trait: satisfaction with life, level of conscientiousness, level of extraversion and relationship status. Knowing their personality we recommended a product at WantedDesign.
Video by Zihan Chen
TEAM PROJECT | 3 MONTHS
In collaboration with 20 designers from the class of 2019 at SVA’s MFA in Products of Design.
As a class we divided into smaller teams, I was part of the fabrication team, in charge of building the exhibition:
Hannah Rudin (Team leader), Carly Simmons, John Boran Jr., Rhea Bhandari, Eugenia Ramos & Ben Barlett.