Inner peace is precarious. Electronic Empathy questions the sensory overstimulation in urban environments and people's incapacity to deal with that, either desensitizing themselves or living in a permanent state of hyperarousal. People on the autistic spectrum are generally falling in the latter category. This film follows a man who decided to implant a 'sense of empathy' into his forehead, activating an AI that runs on facial recognition algorithms. As soon as the protagonist Jan gets overstimulated, he activates the AI and outsources his sense of empathy to "John". John scans the biometric data of the people who Jan interacts with, and communicates a mathematically ‘perfect’ version of empathy to its human (inter)face, so that John can be social without needing to be engaged.
Electronic Empathy is a platform to start thinking about the implications of programmable systems of artificial intelligence that simulate humanity while they are really controlled and biased versions of our humanity. It also inspires a conversation on privacy, consent, and the current trend of seeing algorithms (and AI) as the go-to solution to improve humanity and ultimately society.
©️Lisanne Buik 2019
Concept & Direction: Concept, Creative Director, Research, Scripts: Lisanne Buik Project Management: Tim Hoogesteger, Next Nature Network Art Direction, Camera, Editing: Alain de Bruijn Sense Consultancy: Koert van Mensvoort, Rolf Swolfs Cast: Actors: Jason Winter (Wifi Angels), Hester Beek (Synesthesia), Andy Chaleff (Electronic Empathy), Lisanne Buik (Skin Waves), Levange en Evaly Hermus (The Baby Code) Voice-Overs: Jason Winter (Wifi Angels), Hilde Anna de Vries (Synesthesia), Oscar Kneppers (Electronic Empathy), Lisanne Buik (Skin Waves), Fay Kneppers (The Baby Code). Project Partners: Next Nature Network, CitySenses, Lisanne Buik, Alain de Bruijn.
This production is supported by: Rabobank, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Cultuurfonds Almere, Gemeente Almere, ANBI, Arc2 Architecten, AMR, Voordekunst, TSR, Active Health Foundation. Gratitude to: Kimchi Wow, Eye Museum, Rotterdam AI, Amsterdam Welvaren, Fleur van der Minne, TU Delft – Pieter Jonker, Conscious Hotel Amsterdam.