A playful take on AI: Ravensbourne Design Competition winners at MozFest 2019

This weekend, 25th-27th October, MozFest will take over the futuristic London building that houses Ravensbourne University, a school for design and media. But our connection to Raves (as it’s affectionately known) doesn’t begin — or end — with the Festival weekend. Since finding a home at Raves, we’ve collaborated on design competitions for its students.

Mozilla staff meet with students and instructors, and review project submissions focused on the Festival’s theme and issue areas. It’s an opportunity to connect with the super talented students at Ravensbourne, and explore internet health together. This year, our winners include Georgia Armstrong and Aaliyah (Liy) Grant, who study Brand Advertising with instructors Brian Shepard and Xavi-Sole Mora.

Georgia and Liy (pronounced “Lee”) met in their first year at Ravensbourne, and they’ve collaborated frequently ever since. Our panel of Mozilla staff judges loved their submission, “IMPACT,” an interactive game about Artificial Intelligence — and were especially inspired by the demo video they produced. We caught up with Georgia and Liy to learn more.

Tell us a little about about yourselves. Georgia has a great eye for design and creative direction. With her photography background she has a knack for understanding 3D design and colour theory. Liy comes from a slightly unusual payroll/HR background and moved into the creative world after being told she’s “too chatty” for finance. Her experience in liaising with people from all ages and backgrounds makes her great with communications and ideas. She is a multidisciplinary creative with a lot of experience but is especially good at art direction.

Scenes from the IMPACT demo video starring Kemi & Maureen

How did you come up with the idea for the game? AI is a very interesting but relatively lengthy topic. We wanted to find a way to give people enough information to spark their interests. We realised during research that AI is a part of our lives even more so than we first believed. Knowing this we aimed to make the information that already existed around AI more accessible and engaging.

Having explored a few avenues of trying to make AI more engaging…a little robot called AIDA, an interactive wall, AI flash mobs, and an animated chatbot called ARTi, to name a few… we realised that we’re most engaged with something and enticed to find out more information when it’s in a game or we are tasked with a challenge. We know from experience that we absorb more information if we associate it with an interaction & so we decided that the best way was through the process of a game.

A deck of cards wasn’t going to be enough to draw people’s attention, we wanted the players to absorb the information in a non traditional way and we couldn’t get people to just play truth or dare and so the idea of putting the information on tumbling blocks where the player would then reveal information by removing the blocks was developed.

What kind of experience were you aiming to create for players? The competitive nature of tumbling towers, its ease of learning & the fact there’s no limits on the amount of players, who you play or how old you are paired well with our aim to create something that was inclusive for our Mozfest demographic. Putting all of this together made IMPACT a playful way to build understanding.

What did you learn in the process of designing the game? We learnt a lot during this project; we first learned that AI is a massive part of our day to day life. This came as quite the surprise as we had generally associated AI with chatbots & AI powered assistants such as Siri & Cortana. We learned a significant amount about AI, deep learning algorithms, machine learning , the different forms of AI, some of the theories and beliefs surrounding AI & the fact that it is still a very niche market but with great potential. It was very interesting to see Elon Musk’s & Stephen Hawking’s opinions on AI as such influential people in technology and science. On the opposite side of things it was interesting to watch people like Will Smith go on a date with Sophia (the human-like robot).

Taking on the predictive text challenge prompt, in the IMPACT Demo video

Do you have plans to continue creating games, or exploring AI further in the future? We have both decided that we would look into learning more about the industry once we had completed our studies and hope to be part of more projects that involve AI in the future. We would love to keep creating more versions of IMPACT. Maybe there could even be a IMPACT.2 in the future if the circumstances call for it. We love creating work that is accessible for all audiences, especially communication that has no language or age barriers. We are really grateful for the opportunity to work on something a little outside of our general knowledge and comfort zone.

Come meet Georgia and Liy and experience IMPACT for yourself! The students will be on-site on Saturday, and you can play the game throughout the weekend. Get your MozFest 2019 tickets now.

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