2023 | Austria | Animation,Documentary,Experimental,Short

I thought I was hearing citizens

  • English - 6 mins
  • Director | Manu Luksch, Mukul Patel
  • Writer | -
  • Producer | -

This film is currently not available.   

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AI-animated avatars, bots and text-to-speech systems, typically used for corporate training, are spreading to other human-facing scenarios - from primary education and senior care to crowd management and border control. As it becomes possible to generate convincing ‘fake persons’, who have never existed outside of an algorithm, the question arises – when does it matter that there is no body behind?

This short film casts AI avatars generated from human actors to relate excepts from recorded discussions on information politics and democracy. The title alludes to Harun Farocki’s I thought I was seeing prisoners / Ich glaubte Gefangene zu sehen (2000), which piercingly questions our outsourcing of seeing to machines, and the moral ‘air gap’ it creates. I thought I was hearing citizens points to a new space of human-machine encounter where such distancing occurs.

If we automate decision-making
If we algorithmise education
If we gamify citizenship
Then who do we become?

(Based on a round table discussion on data(protection)rights initiated by TALKEOKE, Mozilla Fest)

AI avatars politics democracy senior care text-to-speech