Empathy Swarm is an emergent system of ten autonomous robots that acts as a human-machine interface and creates an ecosystem for man-machine cohabitation.
The swarm is a society of robotic creatures based on the equality of all members and constantly negotiates and balances the needs of all individuals. In its role as a human-machine interface the robotic system simultaneously activates and reacts to the emotions of the human actant. While the swarm expresses itself through its movement, the human responds subconsciously through motion and facial expressions revealing their emotional state. Together these mechanisms create a bio-feedback loop which shows the interdependence of the two species.
On another level, Empathy Swarm defines its very own definition of what it means to be a utility apparatus, which is based on the idea of machine education, leading away from an optimization concept of human set goals in the form of machine learning. Instead, the idea of self-drive and self-determination of the robotic machine is implemented; it does not evolve from a position of suppression or machine revolution against human supremacy. On the contrary, Empathy Swarm gives space for the vulnerability of the robotic offspring and fosters the careful convergence of the two species into an ecosystem and society of empathy and compassion for each other and among themselves. The human and robotic mind are merged into an extended hive mind that is a source of information and inspiration for future societies and can be utilised as a preventative medicine for a dystopian future.
EMAP/EMARE: The work is coproduced by KONTEJNER within the framework of EMAP / EMARE and co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
Australia Council for the Arts: This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Rotacaster: Omni wheels