Technology art exhibit ‘The Glass Room’ helps visitors peer into their digital future

Global Business

Tech continues to thrive. The sector’s stocks are booming off the promise of technology that collects data and interprets it, ;using artificial intelligence. But is it developing too quickly? Sometimes the best way to shine a light on a subject, is through art. Mark Niu takes us to The Glass Room in San Francisco.

At “The Glass Room” exhibit in San Francisco, 50 art installations help visitors peer into our increasingly digital lives. Using facial recognition, the Mexapixels project sifts through public databases to find potential matches to your face.

Erica Terry Derryck works for the not-for-profit company Mozilla, which created the Firefox web browser and is producing The Glass Room.

“We do need to be asking questions about where the control lies. Does that control rest with me the consumer? Does that control rest with the companies?” Derryck said.

This vending machine sells actual Instagram likes and followers. Jason Kelley managed to buy 100 followers for $2.

“I think a lot of the time it’s hard to know what is ethical on social media and this is just one example of ways that it’s unclear,” said Digital Strategist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jason Kelley.

This installation shows a timeline of protests over the past 10 years that have happened at major tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google, which tops the list.

Also, on display – copies of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s talking point notes from his 2018 appearance before Congress – right next to a Rolodex filled with his pledges and apologies.

“This is the first time we are in the heart of where this technology is being developed. It’s very important for us, tech workers as well to come in here,” said Marek Tuszynsi, Co-founder of Tactical Tech, “those are human beings that have families, they also have different doubts and ideas about the impact of technology on society and themselves. And you want them to find a way to discuss that to form the right questions they can then answer themselves and make decisions. Because they are defining the way we are using technology.”

Tech lawyer Len Ho got a little surprise when thumbing through these volumes of hacked LinkedIn passwords. He found one of his old ones and his wife’s.

“Hers is in here too. I’m going to take a picture of this, said Ho, “it’s a little invasive. Just looking for it among this whole volume produced a little anxiety. Because I thought I might find it and obviously I did. I think people just need to be super aware of what they are doing and probably should change them very often.”

Artist Kiriayki Goni created an art installation which displays her Google search history for the past eight years. There are more than 10,000 searches. I can delete one like this. But it prints out on a receipt. The symbolism here is that even though you delete your search history, it already goes to the site you visited on permanent record.

The Glass Room hopes visitors will be inspired to ask questions about what’s behind the screens of today — to better shape the ones of tomorrow.