Foto: Karol Jarek.
With CARETAKERS, machina eX has created a game-theatrical installation that explores both responsibility in the age of hyper-intelligent machines and the future of medicine. It’s the first time that the artist group has worked with VR glasses, by means of which the audience will be offered insights into the lives of two figures who serve as test objects for the CARETAKERS system.
Foto: Karol Jarek.
In the last few hours alone, at least 8000 people have subscribed to David's video stream - more than ever before. At last, digital technology is once again returning to the centre of public perception. In order to become a system tester, he had to give up some of his privacy principles, but never mind: clicks are clicks. His first consultation as tester in the CARETAKERS project is set to begin.
Tabea sits in her windowless office and opens one of the boxes. A stethoscope, a dictaphone, disinfectant – nothing that she needs here. There are neither patients, nor nurses, nor examination equipment. She closes the box and searches within herself for good arguments. Her first shift as auditor in the CARETAKERS project is due to begin in three days’ time.
For about 1.7 million years, humans have been inventing technologies to overcome their own weaknesses. Our inventions have long since overtaken us in terms of strength, speed and accuracy, and have made our workforce superfluous. Intelligent translation machines, self-driving cars and computers that compose music herald the day when our own human intelligence, creativity and decision-making power could be overtaken.
It’s the year 2025 and Version 0.1 of a piece of medical software has been developed at a small research institute. By chance, the system detects an unexpected connection: it shows that growing up in a particular 32-square-kilometre valley in central Germany represents a risk factor of 14.2 for developing chronic bronchitis – a risk slightly higher than that caused by chain smoking. Hopes arise in the medical world: what if even more extensive patient data could be used to discover risk factors that are so outlandish they remain invisible to the methods of more traditional medicine?
With CARETAKERS, the game-theatre collective machina eX invites its audience on a journey into a fictional future in which a learning machine appears to revolutionise the world of medicine. David and Tabea are patient and doctor in a system that does not provide for direct contact between the two. They experience how their abilities are outpaced, how help is offered to them and responsibility taken out of their hands.
A conglomerate of developers, investors and pharmaceutical representatives gets involved in the project and announces a breakthrough seven years later. It is said that, using imagined cases in model structures, CARETAKERS has been set against the usual diagnosis and therapy-finding methods encountered in hospitals. In the majority of cases, the CARETAKERS system provided better diagnoses and treatment methods. Once everything is taken into account, the evidence presented in this regard – the interpretation of which is naturally complex – is conclusive. A heated public discussion flares up. The German Federal Government is put in charge and decides to carry out a test run.
On 5 December at 19:00, the audience will have the opportunity to have a discussion with the artists.
CARETAKERS is a cooperation between machina eX, Beardshaker Games and Futurium – with the kind support of articy draft.
Duration: around 30–40 minutes
Tickets: 4 euros, reduced price 2 euros
- Futurium is a wheelchair-accessible venue.
- The event has a dynamic and lively format. It is aimed at interested participants of all ages.
- The event uses Oculus Quest VR glasses. In the past, some users have experienced nausea as a result of watching the fast motion sequences in the VR glasses. The programming and total duration of the VR scenes in CARETAKERS has been designed and tested to avoid these effects so far as is possible.
- Suitable for participants aged 14 years and up.
- Spaces without seats will be available for wheelchair users.
- People with visual impairments are welcome. VR glasses can be tested at Futurium in advance. Please contact us and we’ll try to arrange it: firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are any other access-related needs on your part, please let us know and we’ll try to find a solution: email@example.com.
Photos will be taken during the event. If you do not wish to be pictured, please let us know in advance.