Several digital rights activists and technologists have created online challenges and activities to allow us to test our biases, our privacy, our prejudices, our security, and our vulnerability to misinformation. Some of the following games have been shown at MozFest. Virtual Activism has chosen this list:
Facework (2020) is a game that imagines a world where face analysis is key to the latest gig economy app. As a Faceworker, the player is given an opportunity to interrogate in real time how computer vision and machine learning tools work — to playfully grow an intuition for what it means to see like a machine, and to understand how machines can fail. Credits Artist: Kyle McDonald Game design and writing: Greg Borenstein Visual design: Fei Liu Developers: Evelyn Masso, Sarah Port Created with support from Mozilla Foundation. This session is in partnership with DocLabs .
2- Oldernet Adventure!! A Digital Scavenger Hunt Through Cybercultural History
The internet of today can appear as a monolith, with a culture dominated by platforms owned by big tech giants. In this asynchronous digital scavenger hunt we will tour cybercultural history from the late 1980s through the modern era as a means to understand that the contemporary internet was in no way predetermined. It grew out of a particular set of values and goals that were prioritized over others, and it is in those others that we will be spending our time. From the dreams of the past we can see new ways forward for ourselves, to build better networks and stronger communities. Scavengers will be asked to find artifacts, artworks, images, and pieces of text curated from past online communities.
3- An Interview with ALEX:
An interactive experience that puts the audience at the center of the narrative. It simulates a 12-minute job interview with an Artificial Intelligence HR Manager in a future of gamified work and total surveillance. The project was supported by Mozilla’s 2019-2020 Creative Media Awards. It can be experienced at
4- The Gratitude Machine Showcase
The Gratitude Machine is an AI who is learning how to be thankful. As if praying, people can speak, scribble and text thank-yous to her. ‘Thank you for the tenderness I have been shown. Thank you for the sun.’ The Gratitude Machine (TGM) hears or reads the messages and absorbs them into her training model. Learning what thankfulness looks like, she sends her own thank-yous to a screen. Together, she and the audience read and learn from each other: *this is what we have to be thankful for*. Her birth was inspired by a treatment for depression where the sufferer must repeat the words ‘thank you thank you thank you’ repeatedly. TGM is based on the GPT-2 model for generating text, turning the AI that was ‘too dangerous to release’ into a force for contemplation, ecological thought, communion and prayer.
5- Plotting Data: The choice of the annotator
The Choice of the Annotator is a choose-your-own-adventure game which addresses the hidden labour happening behind machine learning datasets. The videos within this game are from the 20BN Something-Something dataset. They act as brief encounters with the workers. Sometimes they show a lot of care for their recording, while others are as fast as possible. Taking the perspective of the platform worker, the player has to deal with some of the conditions the platform imposes.
6- The Glass Room Misinformation Edition
Since 2016, Tactical Tech has been producing The Glass Room, an exhibition series which explores the themes of data, privacy and our relationship to technology. Our exhibitions are engaging, beautifully-designed, self-learning, public interventions that challenge our audiences of all ages to question their usage of technology, and give them simple resources to make sustainable changes in their digital lives. Our latest Glass Room project is the Misinformation Edition, a portable exhibit that can be set up in almost any space – as well as online. This edition comes at a critical time, when so many of us are at home and are more exposed than ever to the dangers of misinformation. It’s accompanied by our Data Detox Kit, which provides simple tips and tricks to recognize misinformation and to avoid spreading it. The Glass Room Misinformation Edition has already been translated into over twelve languages, with more planned. This session / art and media piece is hosted on a third party website.
7- Suspicious behavior – a data annotation tutorial
In the artwork Suspicious Behavior you are given the role of an image annotator performing Human Intelligence Tasks or (HITs) for a crowdworking platform. In this fictional annotation tutorial, your work to detect and label suspicious behavior is needed to train “smart” surveillance cameras. As a crowdworker you are not paid well, time is money, and you need to decide fast. Nevertheless, the artwork raises questions: how is suspicious behaviour defined? Who defines it? Are humans training the machine or eventually the machine training the humans about behaviour? This project is hosted on a third party website.
8- Misinformation Escape Room
An investigative journalist suspiciously vanished last night, and the last thing they did was hand their laptop over to their trusted librarian. After opening the laptop and seeing the contents, the librarian grew alarmed and called you all in to help. The librarian knew the journalist was doing research on the company that makes Euphorigen, a mood enhancing supplement. Now the government is about to sign a contract to put Euphorigen in the public water supply for everyone to enjoy its benefits. But you have suspicions, and only 45 minutes to uncover the truth! The Euphorigen Investigation is an online escape room that immerses players in a world of manipulated media, social media bots, deepfakes and other forms of misinformation. Join teams of 4-6 players and a game host and see how well you do at solving misinformation puzzles!