Newly Forgotten Technologies

Newly Forgotten Technologies is an installation for two hundred discarded ‘smart’ devices and the many possible futures of our relationship to AI.

In this cautionary tale from an undefined near-future, hundreds of discarded and abandoned smart devices lie in an e-waste dump, while their onboard voice assistants tell stories about how and why they were thrown away. These stories describe possible futures where technological, social and cultural events change our relationship to AI and ‘smart’ technologies – some are futures we might want, and some we should try to avoid.  None of these stories mention the absurd fantasy that computers may become sentient, but all of them talk about the different ways that humans react and respond over time to a changing world.

The installation is a generative environment with over 10,000 words of text being spoken.  While some of these devices tell their stories, others whisper or utter broken half-sentences from their shattered speakers, creating an environment haunted by a civilisation’s trash.

This work was created for the Science Gallery London and Future Everything exhibition ‘AI: Who’s Looking After Me?’, running from June 20223 to January 2024.