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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Eric Paulos

The increasing ease of obtaining inferious biological agents will naturally lead to their public acquisition through specialized lethal biological pathogen vending machines. Although these machines will share many traits with today’s typical vending devices, there will be new demands placed on them by governments and society. These systems will be required to automatically and safely cultivate, monitor, contain, package, and properly dispense lethal biological pathogens. Furthermore, the vending device must accurately record, track, and monitor the individuals using the system and observe social trends in viral demands to make long term predictions about humanity.

The Experimental Interaction Unit (EIU) has designed and constructed a fully functional system to study end user demands and hardware limitations of such inevitable, in future publicly available consumer bio-agent distribution mechanisms. We expect our Dispersion device to aid in identifying potential future design and distribution flaws that can hopefully be avoided in the publicly released version of such devices expected within the next few years. EIU is prepared to offer the Ars Electronica attendees the chance to be the first to interact with these inevitable future devices.

The device consists of a vending machine called Dispersion that consists of a fingerprint reader, a camera, a touchscreen monitor, and an A/V equipped computer. The machine is colorful and flashy. Large flashy color images showing the most horrific of viral and biological agents such as anthrax, smallpox, typhus, and plague adorn the sides of the machine. A video display shows eyecatching scenes of biological agent production, spawning, use, and consequences as the machine awaits a customer. These images are interspersed with “fun disease” facts such as amount required to kill 1,000 people, expected time to live after first contact, testimonials, etc. It also shows images, names, and other data of individuals who have previously acquired various biological agents. Additionally, it shows some images to suggest marketing techniques such as, “Your neighbors have infectious biological agents, shouldn’t you too?” and “Always be prepared” and “No one is too young for personal pathogen ownership.”

There is also a cutout area on the front of the vending machine where individuals can look in and see some of the bio-agents “breeding” and being nurtured in preparation for purchase and distribution. There is a mulching going on and some rotting flesh being consumed inside this infectious disease holding area. There is also data such as temperature, humidity, last dispensing date, etc.