If you haven't heard of Boomtown then you've missed out on a treat (if you're from the UK at least). Boomtown is a festival that fuses typical British music festival vibes with a seamlessly integrated theatrical experience. This year, as they rolled out their 10th chapter in the evolving narrative they introduced a new installation featuring a dystopian technology shop in the heart of the eclectic streets of ' Banghai Towers ' - BANG HAI TECHNOLOGIES
Whilst we will leave the story telling to Boomtown what we will say is that we were approached to provide a glimpse at what the future of technology could be like. And what better way to give our newest maker device a test in the field and a demonstration of the possible projects that it could be a basis for - though we would prefer to see the data stealing left out...
It's not easy giving a snippet of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology in a window of a couple of minutes but we had a little idea on how we might provide a taste of what the technology is capable of. So we produced a simple mind game - power the pump with the focus of your mind!
For those so interested in the details we have produced a full write up of how we made the 'Brain Powered Pump' *here* along with the challenges and tales that come with running such an installation.
We were very pleased to be offered a role in such an interesting narrative. Whilst we aren't particularly afraid that some seedy dystopian company is going to be abusing BCI devices anytime soon, as you may gather, we are advocating strongly in favour of any such thing happening in the future. The way we see it - this project was a fun way to demonstrate how this can happen, how we too willingly give away our data and how we should become more aware of what we exchange to benefit from technology.
Control over your data really does begin with understanding - by knowing what data you give away and actually taking ownership of who you give it to and how it is used. We want our systems to be transparent in how data is used. We want you to control that by owning the data yourself.
It was great to be able to play a small part in a story that was so engaging and visceral. Mostly, we like the commentary it creates on what we do with OUR data. Typically, we trade it for the utility of some piece of technology, with very little regard for what happens next. But maybe we should own it and be clear on when we are willing to trade or donate it.?