To increase awareness among Internet users of the use online websites make of their data, to make them more cautious and bring about a change in their behavior. We are interested in interrogating trust in the digital age. We feel that the pervasiveness of technology in our daily life means that people use technology—apps, devices, connected objects, etc.—without understanding how the technology works.
_ Approach & Solution
During Hive#02 we decided to create The Cached Collective, an international group of creatives of diverse backgrounds, who are dedicated to exploring how technology influences our individual lived realities. Because of the impenetrable way that modern technology functions, we strive to design impactful experiences that can be easily understood by a wide audience. We make the intangible tangible. We create impactful experiences that delve into data, algorithmic complexity, and obscure infrastructure, especially focusing on how these affect the individual. We propose experiences, talk, workshops.
Cached Experience (hive#02 prototype). Visitors find themselves alone in a room and are asked to connect to their Facebook or Twitter account. The experience can seem completely unexceptional – but still a little strange… But appearances can be deceptive, since Cached has been designed to shock participants through the participants by giving them a glimpse of what is known or can be assumed about them based on their online activity. Cached addresses the UN’s Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Goal.
A Blind Trust in Algorithms. The scandals have been legion, revealing the way websites manipulate user data or conduct themselves with their own workers. It’s true that we use them day in, day out, without really making the effort to find out how they actually work. Yet these platforms can know the subject we’re interested in, our opinions on social, environmental, moral and political issues, what we buy, etc. Technology has taken over our lives and we accept it without any criticism or second thought. We forget that, behind these now-familiar worlds there are lines and lines of code assembled by developers, the utilization of which is subject to limitations and bias. Thus, even if the machines only perceive a vague image of each one of us, algorithms make good use of it to enable third parties to make numerous – and often reductive – evaluations or, worse, potentially damaging recommendations of an economic, social, political or ideological nature.
Showing What is Hidden. Cached exists to make explicit what people seem to prefer not to acknowledge: the quantity, variety and depth of data that can be gathered from social networks and applications and, above all, the deductions that can be made from this information to build each person’s psychological profile. The term “cached” has several meanings in both French and English, all connected to the notion of devious collection and use of data. First of all, there’s the “memory cache”, which enables data received from a source to be stored temporarily: so we are “cached”, copied and saved so to speak. Then there is the homonymy of “cache” and the “cash” made from selling our online data. But there’s also the “cached”, hidden nature of a communications system that, still today, suffers from excessive opacity. Cached does not want to put an end to online browsing, far from it, but simply to help increase our awareness, standards even, with regard to data security, through enlightened information about what really goes on behind our screens.