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In this project, Julia and I imagined a dystopian society, where we harnessed, evaluated, visualized and stored intimate user data from their sexual lives. This was created as a response against the increasing normalization of privacy invasion as a business model.
With the advent of the internet, we as consumers are increasingly resigned to giving up fundamental aspects of our privacy in exchange for greater convenience when using our phones and computers. We have almost seemed to have grudgingly accepted the fact that being monitored by corporations and even governments is just a fact of modern life.
Many of us also believe that, since we aren't doing anything "wrong", or "illegal", we have "nothing to hide" and that we should not be afraid of authority figures gathering our data. However, do we really know what our data is harnessed for, and how the invasion of our privacy is affecting our lives? More often than not, corporations collect and sell our browsing data and analyze this data to influence our buying habits and patterns through targetted advertising or even our mindsets and cognitive behaviors. For instance, during the 2016 US Presidential Elections, Cambridge Analytica, a British Consulting firm, acquired the private data of 87 million Facebook users, in order to sell psychological profiles of American voters to political campaigns.
We are currently living in a world of low government effectiveness, a legislative system that is unable to keep up with the current state of technology, and a Neo-liberal, Capitalistic society that believes in the idea that companies should be free to do whatever they want in order to maximize profits, with a little nod to morality. Our data is being harnessed, our behaviors are being swayed, in the most insidious and ubiquitous ways possible.
3D modelling & printing: Dildo
In order to play into the concept of how mega corporations harness our most intimate data, we decided to link intimacy to the concept of sex/ masturbation- a topic that is taboo.
We made touch sensors that were placed strategically all around the dildo and connected to the Arduino. From the touch sensors, we harnessed:
(1) Location in which dildo is touched
(2) Pressure of touch on the dildo
(3) Time which the user interacted with the dildo.
We harnessed the data (measuring the pressure exerted) from each touch sensor every 0.1 second.
This data is then imported into a CSV file, which we can then access in Python.
Harnessing data with Arduino
.ion() function turns on interactive mode
Creating scatterplot diagram
Graph is displayed for 0.01 seconds
Graph is set invisible
We coded an interactive, real-time data visualization
We then coded a data evaluation function, such that it can analyze a user's behavior, style of affection and sexual response cycle from their interaction with the dildo.
This mimics the way companies profile and stereotype customers according to their behavior or physical traits, and use this information to manipulate users' consumption habits.
An example of a data evaluation
We created an interface that mimics the check-out page of an online sex shop. Whatever information the user keyed in is now permanently stored in our JSON database. We can also easily retrieve a customer's data by just searching up their name.
Retrieving user's information
User data stored in JSON file
Brief explanation of how data is visualised, processed and stored
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