By introducing a fictional product that seduces consumers with false promises, HeLi-AI aims to stimulate reflection on how often we are being manipulated online, how susceptible we are to techno-optimism and how easy it is to fall into the over-productivity narrative.
We all desire to be more, to give more, and to get more. In this constant pursuit for more, Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to lighten our burden, remove any restrictions and help us on our way to total satisfaction. These are the mechanisms driving HeLi-AI.
So what is HeLi-AI?
HeLi-AI promises you effortless connection, and liberation from communication. It uses AI to create a perfect proxy of you, a digital double that replies to messages from your mum while you sleep, lets your partner know which restaurant you’d prefer to go to, and reaches out to friends you haven’t talked to in a while. But why stop there? Having a perfect proxy offers limitless possibilities. There’s no need for you to be tied to your screen, trying desperately to keep up online – because your proxy can do it all for you. It can reach out to people and find like-minded minds more quickly than ever before. And it can find the things you like more efficiently than any marketing company out there. It will be you – just without the limitations. The sky’s the limit.
But would you own your own copy of your proxy? Or would it be the property of some shady company? How would your data be protected – if it were protected at all? Would you trust HeLi-AI if it is ruled by the mechanisms of a free market? Would only making it available to wealthy people contribute to the further growth of the social divide?
Politicians, what do you think about this? And you, dear person reading this, do you think it concerns you?
Shruthi Venkat (Delft, the Netherlands)
Shruthi Venkat is an industrial designer and a researcher. She enjoys exploring the spaces of AI, technology and speculative design. In her current work, Shruthi focuses on future interactions with tangible devices.
Anastasiia Belousova (Berlin, Germany)
Anastasiia Belousova is a media artist based in Berlin. Her work focuses on the intersection between technology and the human in daily life.
Pauline Vantilt (Eindhoven, the Netherlands)
Pauline Vantilt is a sustainability analyst with a background in business studies. She is interested in the intersection between human interactions and technology, and how the creative uses of technology as a communication medium can raise awareness on topics such as citizens’ digital rights and climate change.
Artificial intelligence has been a buzzword for over a decade now and the number of companies that use artificial intelligence or at least claim they use it has considerably increased. Some companies use it openly in their marketing and other companies use it in more covert ways to increase the speed of their internal processes. Throughout our project we focused on why we are so willing to accept the services of big corporates by creating a fake entity HeLi-AI that seduces us to want to use the service it offers. Out of the results, it is hard to resist promises that feed into our desire to be productive and get ahead. Simply refusing to use the services is not going to get us far. That’s why we would like to spotlight three organizations we found that actively work on the topic of digital agency and the ethical use of AI.
Ada Lovelace is seen as the first computer programmer, having written computer code for the analytical machine of Charles Babbage before it was even built. She died in 1853. Today the Ada Lovelace institute is an independent research institute with a mission to ensure data and AI work for people and society.
Ada Lovelace Institute
On 24 November 2021, the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence was adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference at its 41st session. This is the first ever global agreement concerning AI Ethics.
Ethics of artificial intelligence – UNESCO
A Dutch foundation that campaigns for better digital privacy and raises awareness around the topic.
Bits of Freedom
Extra: The fun fact we gathered at the end of the questionnaire: Under the GDPR (EU’s data protection law that came in force in 2018) You have the right to contest the decision of an AI Link:
The Right to Contest AI
About AI Bots & Agents
One of the key themes of CODE 2022 is the use of artificial intelligence bots and agents. These AI bots are often used by companies to cut staff costs for things like helpdesks. People also use AI bots to try to sway public opinion on important topics, by having bots create fake social media accounts and having them post content that confirms whatever political narrative they try to spread. It becomes increasingly more difficult to separate bot accounts from humans, which CODE 2022 project HeLi-Ai playfully addresses by highlighting potential ways AI bots could define our future.