Week 2 - Artificial Conscience

Lucy Davidson - Mon 2 March 2020, 9:08 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 9:14 pm

Idea Explanation


Climate change is the biggest problem we are facing today and we really need to be making immediate changes to our lifestyle. It can feel very powerless seeing the big companies and governments not really doing much to help this issue, so by having a fun and playful interaction like Artificial Conscience, it can motivate everyday people to make small changes for a bigger cause.

I am very passionate about minimising the effects of climate change but still find it difficult to find ways to do this in my everyday life. It has been found that one of the quickest ways to change behaviour is through disapproval (https://digest.bps.org.uk/2013/01/10/social-disapproval-leads-to-longer-lasting-behaviour-change-than-cash-fines/). Now not everyone has a blunt friend who will tell you when your makeup looks bad or when you’re using too much electricity, so that’s where Artificial Conscience comes in. Artificial Conscience is a digital figurine that responds to the environment around it. It can be used in many different settings but the most appropriate and common use would be in a public place in households where all members of the family can interact with it (e.g. living room). It is used to encourage conscious effort in reducing energy and water use in households by reminding the user when they are ineffectively doing so.

It can respond to its environment through its rotating arms, colour (string of LED lights inside frosted casing), facial expressions on screen. For example, if the user has a 20 minute shower, they will then come into the living room to be publicly shamed by the drowning plant on the coffee table (see figure below).


I think its a very interesting interaction as instead of just a meter showing you that you have used 22L of water today, it gives an emotional context to situation. By personifying the environment in this way it allows people to have an emotional response to their inefficient use of resources, utilising the human values of compassion and need for approval.


This idea was inspired by lua, a digital plant pot that visually alerts the user of what the plant needs.

Digital Plant Pot - https://mu-design.lu/lua#lua-intro

#climatechange #sensors #sustainability