Software Etc., I Was a Teenage Cyber Flâneur

Software Etc. is a virtual shopping mall and chatbot ecosystem. Simulated shoppers walk around a 3D mall, modeled on the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles California, and populated with generative fictive advertising and signage. The shoppers appear as abstract but faintly humanoid colorful figures, whose motion is sourced from Carnegie Mellon motion capture library. The shoppers occasionally stop and converse with each other. Each shopper’s conversational AI is an amalgam of preexisting digital tools and materials, including, live samples of Yahoo answers, text adventures, message board, crowdsourced input, and various chatbots including such as those used for automated customer service, and trolling. The shoppers also possess virtual cell phones, which they can use to send and receive SMS from humans the real world. We have already completed a partial version of the project for a museum exhibition, but this was only active for the duration of the exhibition, and only visible to museum visitors. We would like to develop it further, and convert it from a temporary physical exhibition piece, to a persistent, living, in-browser experience.