‘Our Friends Electric’ Heads to London’s Design Museum

IoT objects from the short film ‘Our Friends Electric’ will be featured in an exhibit this winter

Eddi is a voice assistant that can learn a tremendous amount about its users. Karma is an artificial intelligence that can mimic your voice and speak on your behalf. And Sig is a digital companion with a keen interest in philosophy.

The objects from ‘Our Friends Electric’

These are the characters in “Our Friends Electric,” a short film by Superflux, Mozilla, and the University of Dundee that explores the future of voice-enabled AI. The film was released in September 2017.

Said Mozilla’s Michelle Thorne when the film was debuted: “It’s imperative that we go beyond what’s possible with technology, and instead consider what’s responsible.”

Now, in November 2018, the film and its characters will be featured in an exhibition at London’s Design Museum.

The exhibit “Home Futures” — running November 2018 through March 2019 — examines six elements of home including the history of the “mechanised home.”

Writes the museum: “The ‘home of the future’ has long intrigued designers and popular culture alike. Bringing together avant-garde speculations with contemporary objects and new commissions, ‘Home Futures’ explores today’s home through the prism of yesterday’s imagination. The exhibition asks: are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”

Says Jon Rogers, a Mozilla Fellow who helped create the film: “Voice-enabled assistants are increasingly a reality in our lives — smart speakers and smart microphones are not just in airports and offices and shops, but also in our homes. Their presence requires extra care and consideration. So we set out to make playful yet constructive scenarios that challenge how we think about the voice technology and how they may learn and act on our behalf.”

Exhibit themes include Living Smart, Living on the Move, Living Self-Sufficiently, Living with Less, Living Together, and Other Dreams of Home. Eddi, Karma, and Sig will share space with works by designers like Ettore Sottsass and Enzo Mari, plus contemporary figures such as Dunne & Raby and Rem Koolhaas.

After the exhibit’s run at the London Design Museum, it will travel in spring 2019 to the IKEA Museum in Älmhult, Sweden.

To learn more about Mozilla’s work regarding privacy, openness, and inclusion, visit https://foundation.mozilla.org/. And watch “Our Friends Electric” below: