Courtesy of Lauren McCarthy

We love to talk about how our virtual assistants fail us. They allow parrots to order fire on Amazon and play porn channels to kids. Obviously, it's going to be quite some time before these machines will be as good as human assistants. That's why the quest to create personalities for assistive technology is a serious business. Google has a “personality team” working on providing Assistant with a more human-like personality. Now artists are testing the limits of these technologies too, asking what would happen if humans actually behaved the way our virtual assistants do.

Artist and UCLA professor Lauren McCarthy’s project, LAUREN, is a performance piece that examines how home automation effects social interactions within a home. The artist installs customized software and hardware in a willing participant’s home.

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