Machine Vision

The Machine Vision LARP

The ERC project MACHINE VISION has received funding from the Norwegian Research Council to develop a set of live action role-playing games exploring ethical decisionmaking and new technologies.

Blurry blue image showing a crowd of people with green boxes superimposed on the image, suggesting some kind of machine vision.
The LARP and exhibition will give participants practice in thinking critically and ethically about new technologies, especially machine vision.

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By using live action role-play (larps), we aim to increase the public's knowledge of machine vision (eg face recognition, emotion recognition, deepfakes, automatic image manipulation) and to create situations where a general audience can practice their ethical judgment in relation to these new algorithmic visual technologies.

"New technologies are evolving so rapidly that society is unable to develop ethical guidelines or regulation quickly enough," the project team wrote in their application. "Therefore, we need individuals who are trained in making ethical assessments about the use of new technology. This role-playing game and exhibition will allow participants to experience ethical dilemmas where they have to make choices and negotiate with others, and where they can play out possible consequences of their choices."

The internationally recognised larp-developer Anita Myhre Andersen will lead the development of the LARP. Her team of larp developers also includes Harald Misje, Toril Mjelva Saatvedt, Eskil Mjelva Saatvedt, and Sebastian Sjøvold, who will work with UiB researchers Marianne Gunderson and Kristian Bjørkelo, and MA student Jon Andreas Edland. The team is developing a short larp to be used at conferences ("Ettersynsing"), and two larger larps, where "Mønsterakademiet" will be run largely as a pilot running up to the main event, Sivilasjonens venterom ("Civilization's Waiting Room"). 

Sivilisasjonens venterom will be held in the basement of the University Museum in Bergen on November 21-23, 2021. The first day will consist of workshops, both preparing the larp experience itself, and with talks about machine vision by researchers. The second day is for the larp itself, and the third day is for debriefing and discussing the experience. Participants will be a combination of researchers and experienced larpers. Please watch the Sivilasjonens venterom website and/or the Facebook page for information on how to apply to participate.

We are also collaborating with Tidsreiser, a Bergen-based company that runs childrens' larps. Tidsreiser will be developing two larps for children and youth: a short larp for use in schools, and a longer one aimed at children who are already familiar with larping. 

LARPing, or live action roleplaying, is a well-established method that uses drama pedagogy and simulation to let participants play out situations, and thus it is a good methodology for practicing ethical competence. The development will take place in collaboration with expert LARP-writers, and there will be several small pilot LARPs during 2020 and 2021. The plan is to arrange a large LARP, over three days, where the first and last day are used for topical lectures, discussions and debriefing, and the LARP takes place on the second day. In addition, a smaller LARP will be developed that can be completed in 3-4 hours without much equipment or preparation from the participants, and that can be conducted as a workshop in different settings and different groups of people. For the latter, the team will collaborate with NORA, the Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium.

The larp is funded by the Norwegian Research Council as part of an IMPACT grant to increase the national impact of EU-funded research projects in Norway. The grant also funds an exhibition developed in collaboration with the recently re-opened University Museum, that is open to the public from 18.03.2021-29.08.2021.