Money Talks

Mike Shorter, Sabine Junginger, Aurelio Todisco, Aysun Aytaç, Paola Pierri

Money Talks is an installation that lifts the curtain on our power dynamics and financial relationships with speech recognition AI.

Talk to this AI in order to understand not only what it hears, but the inner workings we never get to see. How has it interpreted you? How confident is it? What are the true costs?

Off Stage

Money Talks is an installation that surfaces our power and financial relationships with voice driven AI services. At a time when we are increasingly paying for our AI in our lives, we have paused to think “how much is this costing” and “what is the true cost here?”. Machines that listen make us believe that it is cost free. It uses very little power (in your home); it costs a few euros to install; the service has either no or a very small monthly charge. All of these are an illusion, and it doesn't take much to break the surface of this black mirror. Once we stray from the consumer path, we start to see the real cost of the power consumed (by the servers running AI), the cities of e-waste in far off places, the price plans (per word, per minute or per hour ). It doesn't take much to expose these costs – yet who does this? Even the most diehard climate denier doesn't deny that jetting around the world burns fuel. Yet all of these AI and cloud-based services are doing far more than the aviation industry, and nobody seems to know or care. We want you to know. We want you to see. We want you to care. We want to do something about this. Money Talks is a call to action that starts with Republica.  

Money Talks is a freestanding interactive artwork that presents an exploded view of the true costs of a voice assistant. Participants will talk into a microphone and a large flow of words will appear through the chart seamlessly switching between printed text and lines and display material. Screens will be hidden behind plywood facings with cut-through areas to reveal interactive text and images in novel, imaginative ways. Our intention is to hold a participant's attention for no more than 1 minute - and in that time to open their minds to the many hidden costs of AI, voice technologies and planetary resources. To seed action and allow this to grow as they connect with talks, workshops and activities through the festival.