The underlined phrases of the subject’s feedback indicate, in my opinion, two strong points. Completely unfamiliar with programming, the subject felt proud for being able to modify the program and make it work according to the message she wanted to reply. That means that she gained something through this process. Secondly, by mentioning that the device demonstrated an interesting way to communicate and “stimulate our feelings”, one could claim that HAL indeed evoked a sort of emotion to her, that probably wouldn’t have been achieved by an e-mail saying “happy holiday in Tai Pei”.
In my question if they prefer the modified HAL to the original one they all answered that they find the original one boring, compared to the modified. They also liked the idea of a standalone device in their ambient environment that has the ability to render a message in a visual way.
Testing HAL in an office environment
The third subject is a researcher architect who works in an office environment with a number of other colleagues. HAL was placed above the subject’s desk in a place to be seen by everyone. The interesting outcome of the experiment is that HAL created an event in the space. Everybody was curious to know about that strange lamp that was displaying patterns. The colleagues as well as the subject ended up taking part in the game of trying to guess the meaning of the symbols I was sending, which they were expecting with great anticipation. In general they could quite easily figure out what the symbols meant, but the letters were confirming their guesses. Probably the subject was the only one conceiving HAL as communication device with me, contrary to the colleagues that conceived it more as a device that was testing their cognitive perception.
Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools
Fig. 62 HAL original and HAL modified
Fig. 63 HAL in the subject’s office