Kjen Wilkens
Personal Crunchology


Show Space



Will we feed predictive computer simulations with all our personal data streams to gain personal insights?


How much do we believe in computer models?



How will they change our behaviour?



Will we use statistics and computer models to support human judgement in personal relationships?


All content © 2010 Royal College of Art

Computers have changed the way we see the world. Will they also change the way we see our personal futures? The recent rise of computational methods in all areas of research as well as the open-data movement combined with our personal data might facilitate a wide range of new products and services. This project is an exploration of these data-obese futures.

By using web services and computational devices, we pile up data about various aspects of our lives. Notions such as the Internet of Things suggest that all things around us will soon be producing data. Others might use this data to sell us more stuff, but how will we relate to our quantified selves? What impact will this mass quantification have on our private lives? How does obsessive self-tracking influence our physical and mental health? What would happen if we applied methods of pseudoobjectification which we know from business to the everyday? Will we use the same kind of predictive modelling currently used in areas such as marketing, risk management and climate research? How much do we believe in computational predictions and how many decisions do we want to delegate to machines?


A) Statistical Fortune Telling Service
This application provides ‘predictions’ based on personal data, giving a glimpse at what might appear if we start feeding our personal data streams into predictive computer models. It connects to a users Facebook account and utilises real data to generate a personalised ‘future report’ which can then be posted back to Facebook or (in the show context) be taken away as a printout.

B) Computer Aided Prejudice
This project builds on processes used by corporations for marketing purposes to make computational judgements about people. Through integrating a surname profiling database with Gmail, the project allows us to experience a possible application of computational judgement for personal relationships. It originates in the idea that our gut-feeling and learned preconceptions of people don’t translate to our online communication. This project then questions if and to what extend we will use computational tools to assist in building first impressions of people we encounter online. The software sits discreetly within an email client quietly tempting the user to first profile the names in their inbox and then to accept or reject the information they reveal.


Project Credits
Programming: Gerrit Kaiser
Animation: Ilona Gaynor
Graphic Design: Kevin Grennan



Other projects by Kjen Wilkens: