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Hello Machine—Hello Human

Rachel Hanlon (AU)

Hello . . . ? Can you talk to me . . . ? When technologies reach obsolescence our relationship with them changes, but what never changes is our need to reach out to others, connect and share. But what if no one is on the other end of the line? Who is there to hear us?

AI has made sure there always is! A “speech race” is upon us. First we had interactive voice response systems, now with natural language interface systems we have our new “weavers of speech,” these modern day “voices with a smile” are changing the way we communicate with our phones. Siri, Alexa, Bibxy, Cortana and Google Assistant (shall we call her GAbby?) are all vying for your attention, but what will our budding relationships with these Boy/Girl Fridays blossom into? Hello Machine—Hello Human, touches on the playful moments that are shared between man and machine, and seeks to connect with you by inverting this relationship, by asking what can you do for her.

Hello Machines are situated across the globe in ever-changing locations and time zones. Picking up the receiver rings the other Hello Machines, creating space for spontaneous voice visiting. They provide a way in which the viewer can interact with re-animated, technically obsolete telephone systems, utilizing present-day advances in telephony. Their aim is to open up a dialog between the technologies’ original ideas and meanings, and what makes up the “thingness” these devices now possess, by unraveling its historical and societal content that contains traces of our identity.


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Hello Machine—Hello Human was developed within the Ars Electronica Futurelab, and forms part of Rachel Hanlon’s PhD Research through Deakin University, Australia.