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Robotify.me – what Labs are making next, and why.

26th April 12

Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

Posted in makings

Author: James Mitchell, Strategist, BBH & BBH Labs

Every once in a while at Labs, we like, no, need to get our hands dirty. Oily, even. We like to make stuff that we can learn from – learn from the making of and learn from the interactions with. Robotify.me is one such experiment. And unlike most of our output, we’re going to share its whole gestation with you. Partly because we’re too excited not to, partly because we want you to shape the product.

Product? Yes. With robotify.me, we want to put a personal digital robot into the hands of every person who wants one.

Of all the companions you could make, why a robot? Why not a plant, an animal, even a pet rock? Because of the line robots walk (or fly), between the artificial and the human. They are not alive, but in the way the act we try to give them life. And this has bearing on the other half of the project.

Since our first aol email addresses, our first Second Life avatars, our geocities and myspace profiles, our first (and second) anonymous twitter accounts and our weavrs, we’ve been talking about the difference between a person, and an online persona. Is there one? We hope robotify will tell us, because the other trick is this: the characteristics and features of your robot will be determined entirely and exclusively by  your social network data. So if you post lots of pictures on instagram, your robot might grow a telephoto lens in its belly. If you click lots of odd links, you might develop tank tracks – negotiating rough digital terrain, you see.

That’s the simplest version. Gradually we want to progress to a version with a robot that changes and grows as you do – a living marker of your data journey. We’re even hoping that, over time, robots will be able to interact. Robosociety, if you will. But that’s the nature of the agile process we’re using – aside brazzers from the vision, there are lots of assumptions layered on top of each other, and we’d like a willing army of beta pioneers to help slice through these assumptions and get to the robotify.me that you want.

At the same time, we’d like to experiment with a slightly altered way of communicating – so for the 50s radio-style version of the Robotify story, just slip on some headphones and click play.

Hang on. You said something about beta users?

Yes, labs reader. That’s you. We’re making the beta right now – signup at http://signup.robotify.me. If there’s anything you want to see, anything you’ve always wanted to know about your social data, or anything else you think we should look at, let us know below…

One comment on “Robotify.me – what Labs are making next, and why.”

  1. [...] December 2012 we launched robotify.me, an experiment to test our hypothesis that seeing social media behaviour visualized could actually influence and change those behaviours. [...]

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