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- The Self-Learning Robo-Taxi

SOULMACHINE is a mobile interactive game with a group of passengers and artificial intelligence. Six passengers take a seat in a specially adapted people carrier, controlling the automobile together with an artificial intelligence program on a tablet computer with voice recognition. The computer formulates a route and the journey experience based on the collective decisions and behaviour of the passengers. It also takes them on an allegorical life journey, from childhood to old age. The stages of life correspond to graduated levels of machine-controlled driving from Level 1 (human control) to Level 5 (fully automated machine control). This life journey also corresponds to the machine’s education towards complete autonomy. The voice recognition module moderates the passengers’ social interaction through questions, answers, narrative passages, opportunities to play along and make decisions. What principles should we use these days? Majority rule? Unanimity? In what mode do we want to travel today: Go with the flow? Team building? Survival of the fittest?

SOULMACHINE probes the micro-political situation between passengers and machine, asking questions about which direction this (auto)mobile society will take in the future. The passengers are confronted with the moral consequences of delegating and giving up their moral responsibilities as active and liable subjects. What ethical standards do we adopt as a society in the face of transferring more and more agency to artificial intelligence? SOULMACHINE enables questions of technology as a field of social experiment between fears about the future and innovation fantasies to be explored in a sensual way.




“[…] the fundamental question implicit in the journey is, what trust in the potential of artificial intelligence do people bring with them? The range of issues raised is broad. The point is whether a machine could soon have something like a soul but it is also about personal associations with the keywords ‘youth, drugs, alcohol, car’, which segues from the mechanical to human emotions as causes of mistakes in traffic. […]
“Soulmachine” is not for techno-freaks. It is a playful examination of the issue […] The performative journey works on an emotional level and may heighten a critical awareness of current developments.”

(Leipziger Volkszeitung, 13/03/2020)


Concept: Interrobang By and with: Lajos Talamonti, Till Müller-Klug, Lisa Großmann Sound: Daniel Dorsch Programming: Florian Fischer  Outside Eye: Nina Tecklenburg, Lea Gerschwitz Production Office: ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro.

Production: Interrobang. Co-production: zeitraumexit e.V. Mannheim, Schauspiel Leipzig, Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin, FFT Düsseldorf and AutofreierStadtTraum e.V. Bremen. Funded by: Kunststiftung NRW.


HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin
14.-19. September 2021

MaaS L.A.B.S. Potsdam
07.-08. September 2021

FFT Düsseldorf
05.-08. May 2021

AutofreierStadTraum e.V Bremen
19.-22. September 2020
part of Europäische Mobilitätswoche
organized by Sternkultur

Schauspiel Leipzig
11. March 2020


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