Generously funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, "Our Automated Future: Science through Storytelling” takes a journey into a series of speculative futures crafted by students in SCI-Arc’s EDGE Fiction and Entertainment postgraduate program directed by coordinator Liam Young with program faculty Alexey Marfin. These future worlds incorporate techniques of film, fiction, video games, virtual reality, and documentary to tell stories about the emerging conditions of the twenty-first century in a world where artificial intelligence and automation are ubiquitous and myriad autonomous objects populate our daily life. The work engages emerging science and technology to explore the implications and possibilities of AI and automation for the futures of work and personal relationships. Scientists and technologies mentored and collaborated with the SCI-Arc Fiction and Entertainment students in the production of these future worlds. The films are also engaged with bringing techniques from the entertainment industry into the science and technology disciplines. The cutting-edge research of these scientists and technologists portends fundamental changes that are coming about in our lives within the contexts of AI and automation.
Featured in this documentary are science and technologists Jules Jaffe [Research Oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD]; Siddharth Suri [computational scientist and author]; Refik Anadol [media artist and director]; Deborah Harrison [head of the conversational UI team at Microsoft]; Memo Akten [artist working in the fields of machine learning and AI]; and recent Fiction and Entertainment graduates Jeremy Kamal Hartley [creator of the animated short film “Mojo”]; Shuruq Tramontini [creator of the VR experience “Current Affairs”]; Kate Stuteville [creator of the short film “Frontier Solutions”]; and Rick Farin [creator of the animated short film “BREACH”]. Additional Fiction and Entertainment student projects are: "Floating World" (Concept Art) by Yucong Wang; "Earth Machine" (Video Game/VR) by Kaan Karabagli; "The Three Body Problem" (Video Game) by Tien Tien Wang; "Sumeru" (Video Game) by William Chen; "The Monsters Beyond" (Animated Short Film) by Ko-Chun Liu; "Happy Wife" (Short Film) by Jiacheng Cheng; "Ferenj" (VR) by Ainslee Alem Robson; "The Pantheon of Queer Mythology" (VR) by Enrique Agudo; "Solstice" (Short Film) by Case Miller; and "How Are You Feeling?" (VR) by Cole Daly.