Perception iO

Karen Palmer (GB)

Perception iO (Input Output) is the future of Law Enforcement. An Artificial Intelligence data set emotionally responsive to the participant and potentially their bias.

Perception iO

The participant will assume the role of a police officer watching an interactive training video of an escalating volatile situation. They will experience the interaction from the perspective of a cop’s body camera and come into contact (separately) with a black protagonist and white protagonist. Each protagonist plays either the role of a criminal or of a person with mental health issues. The Perception iO system will track the participants facial expression. How they respond emotionally to the scene will have consequences for the characters. It will influence the branching narrative to prompt the cop to either arrest, assist or shoot the character on the screen.

The Perception iO immersive experience is a convergence of neuroscience, behavioral psychology, film, AI, facial emotion detection, eye tracking, bias and social justice. It reveals how a person’s emotions (and eye tracking functionality currently in development) influences their perception of reality through an immersive storytelling experience.
After extensive research in Artificial Intelligence, this installation will enable participants to experience how easily human bias can be intergraded into networks by humans and therefore understand the necessity for Transparency and Regulation in AI. The immersive experience generates self-reflection and discussion on issues of bias, ethics and accountability for the participants and people creating these types of systems.
This is a collaboration of Art (Cooper Hewitt), Tech (ThoughtWorks Arts) and Science (NYU) to create the installation and undertake the ethical, academic and philosophical R&D. EmoPy is the bespoke (open source), deep neural net toolkit for emotion analysis via Facial Expression Recognition (FER) created by ThoughtWorks Arts and Karen Palmer. *Perception iO* was commissioned by The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum NYC.

Project Credits / Acknowledgements

Director & Producer: Karen Palmer
Commissioned by: Ellen Lupton Senior Curator, Contemporary Design, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Software Development: ThoughtWork Arts Program Director Andrew McWilliams, Julien Deswaef & The ThoughtWorks Development Team Emilio Escobedo, Lauren O’Neal, Tom Shannon, Dan Lewis-Toakley, J.C. Holder, Stephanie Weber, Peter Graves, Lee Faria, Diana Gámez Díaz, Emily Sachs, Whelan Workmaster, Andrew Zou, Ling Tran, Margaret Plumley, Megan Andrea Louw
R&D: Emily Balcetis, Associate Professor of Psychology NYU, Lab Director The SPAM (Social Perception Action & Motivation) Lab

Special Thanks: (R&D eye gaze currently in development) Erica Wayne & Tobii Pro
Film Production Team: She Shot Me Films
Sound Design: Mike Wyeld
Cast: Police Officer Michael Mirlas, Black Male Hassan Farrow, White Male Jeremie Egiazarian, Background female Christin Johnson
With kind support of Thoughtworks Artsm>


Karen Palmer (GB) is the Storyteller from the Future. International Artist and TED Speaker. Her work is at the intersection of AI, Immersive Storytelling, Neuroscience, Behavioural Psychology, Implicit Bias and the Parkour philosophy of moving through fear. Articles (have appeared) in Wired, Forbes, CBS TV , Fast Company, Engadget, The Guardian “This has Leapfrogged VR” etc. and she has exhibited at the V&A London, PHI Centre Montreal, FoST NYC, The Museum of Modern Art Peru, SXSW, SIDF etc. Her previous emotionally responsive film RIOT was honored as part of Columbia University’s Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling 2017.