Exploring speculative fiction, Frankenstein and AI to build learning simulations at Story I/O

“It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s seminal work, Frankenstein AI: a monster made by many reimagines the Frankenstein narrative, recasting Shelley’s creature as a naive, emotionally aware, and highly intelligent “life form” — an artificial intelligence.

A multi-year design research project from Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, Frankenstein AI challenges commonly dystopian narratives surrounding artificial intelligence, and seeks to provoke and broaden conversation around the trajectory of this rapidly emerging technology.

Apply now for Story I/O space is limited

A participant interacts with Frankenstein AI at Sundance

Beginning with the Sundance Film Festival this past January and over the course of the next two years, we’ll invite the public into our process as collaborators through an evolving series of activations and learning experiences both online and off, that will traverse immersive theatre, browser-based interactions, community design, and other performative and experiential media.

Story I/O

Our next Frankenstein AI experiment will take place on Saturday, September 22nd at Story I/O, a day focused on building transformative learning simulations using story, play, design and code, both as inputs and outputs (I/O). This free event is a mashup of a design sprint, hackathon and game design jam. Ninety participants from diverse backgrounds will gather to design learning simulations that harness AI to create meaningful connections and tackle polarizing topics through empathic conversational methods. Professional backgrounds of collaborators will include: storytellers, educators, performers, makers, designers, hackers, academics, activist, game designers, community organizers and interaction designers.

Our partners for the day are Columbia University School of the Arts, Teachers College, the Urban Design program and Barnard College.

Apply now for Story I/O space is limited

A peek at the current design of the day

To sustain the spirit of openness and transparency that permeates everything we do at DSL, leading up to the Story I/O event on September 22nd we’ll be pulling back the curtain to share how we’re approaching the event, and how we plan to spark and sustain action beyond the day.

Current Running Order (subject to change)

  • Welcome & Goals
  • 5x why (participants pair up with a stranger)
  • Birth of a Monster (a historical look at Frankenstein and its cultural impact)
  • Fire Side Chats (two different perspectives — one subject)
  • World Cafe (collaborative discussion to surface the collective intelligence of a group)
  • Reflection (bring it back to an individual perspective)
  • Lunching in the future (teams head to lunch and return with ideas for the future)
  • Prototyping Cafe (open ideation and testing — make ideas tangible)
  • Perform Solutions (the group iterates through performance)
  • Check Out (mapping next steps, opportunities and milestones)
  • Closing Remarks

Volunteers Wanted

We’re looking for volunteers. If you’re interested please drop us a line at hello [at] digitalstorytellinglab [dot] com

  • documentation
  • registration
  • setup and breakdown

Apply now for Story I/O space is limited

About Columbia DSL

The Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab (aka Columbia DSL) designs stories for the 21st Century. We build on a diverse range of creative and research practices originating in fields from the arts, humanities and technology. But we never lose sight of the power of a good story. Technology, as a creative partner, has always shaped the ways in which stories are found and told. In the 21st Century, for example, the mass democratization of creative tools — code, data and algorithms — have changed the relationship between creator and audience. The Columbia DSL, therefore, is a place of speculation, of creativity, and of collaboration between students and faculty from across the University. New stories are told here in new and unexpected ways.

Join Columbia faculty and industry innovators as we explore the current and future landscape of digital storytelling.

For more information on upcoming Columbia DSL programs, prototypes and labs make sure to sign up for our newsletter. Plus if you’re interested in connecting with other storytellers, game designers, hackers, makers, educators and fans of emerging technology we’ve started a global Columbia DSL prototyping community. Finally if you like to partner with us we’re always up for a good collaboration!