As designers who work with technology, part of our role is to explore the limits of what is possible and to have a point of view about the society in which we live.
In a world of networked systems and ubiquitous computing alongside an ever increasing trend for convenience and efficiency, some of the human connection in life is being lost.
Doliio is your new autonomous self-agent (ASA) and it’s here to help you give the people you care about the attention they deserve.
As a best-in class ASA, Doliio can work simultaneously across all of your desired channels. By putting the personal back in personality, Doliio can represent the real you wherever you need it to be.
With your help Doliio learns your habits in order to provide an authentic experience when you're unavailable but don't worry, your ASA sends through daily updates to ensure you never miss a thing - after all it's not about being social anymore, it's about being you.
Although some might argue that technology is bringing us closer together, the threat around giving away too much control is all too real, especially given the growing pervasiveness of AI and chatbots.
By creating a fictional application called Doliio, we wanted to highlight this risk to personal connections and demonstrate how willing people are to abandon the responsibility of building and maintaining human to human relationships.
In order to put our ideas across effectively, the project had to be built in an extremely realistic way and reach out into the digital ether. This meant creating a universe around the Doliio service, including a series of videos, a website, medium blog, social media handles and several new technology acronyms such as ASA (Autonomous Self-Agent) and PAD (Publicly Available Data).
We imagined powering Doliio with an AI system, utilising user data to build a personality profile, similar to services such as CrystalKnows, in an attempt to 'become' the user. The user is assigned an ASA, which is able to act on the user's behalf across all online channels. Interacting with the ASA involves a chat based interface, designed to be as invisible as possible, giving the user simple updates on activity, rather than transparent controls.
In the end Doliio was featured in publications such as Der Spiegel and Motherboard with journalists pointing at the consequences that applications of this nature would cause. It created debate at conferences where we presented ideas and ultimately generated the right kinds of discussions amongst designers, technologists as well as the general public. It has now also been shortlisted for an IXDA award.
The project involved fairly unconventional research approaches, using contemporary sources such as Tinder and Chatroulette to source potential users and initial research respondents. The initial assumptions that people would like to enhance their social capabilities at scale was proven to be true and enabled us to move on to a round of low-fidelity prototyping, testing the concept and potential interfaces with users.
The idea of an autonomous agent that learns to be you came from extrapolating possible near futures based on the current trend of 'chatbots for x' and artificial intelligence powered systems. These technologies, particularly Artificial Intelligence, promise many things, but in a world where convenience is king and monopolistic digital juggernauts base decisions on lowest common denominators, the results may easily sway towards the seemingly useful yet inherently creepy side of things.