When robots rule the world, they’re going to make each of us stick our hand in this thing to figure out who’s got what it takes to survive. Called the knife.hand.chop.bot, it’s a
robot equipped with a knife that the Machine uses to s(t)imulate the test of courage – a kind of game known as “Mumblety-Peg”. The User puts his/her hand into the Machine and starts the knife game at the push of a button. The knife starts to hit the space between the fingers, first slowly then continually getting faster. The Machine knows where to chop by receiving signals of a sensor that guides the knife to the place between the fingers.
Electric contacts are mounted on the support block of the Machine, where the hand is situated. These contacts are activated as soon as the first “nervous sweat” appears that turns the skin into a conductor. Subsequently the computer becomes disturbed by the electric current that is now transmitted via the skin.
This has two effects: on the one hand, sounds are generated by the closure of the contacts (circuit bending) that can either be interpreted as warning or act as an additional source of stress. On the other hand, they can have an effect on the position of the knife which is controlled by the computer and thereby hurt the potential perpetrator of the disturbance.
Essential to the set-up is the the feedback loop i.e. the circularity between computer, robot and User. It instantiates the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy:
The human is right by assuming that the Machine can fail. The Machine can fail because the human assumes.
Ready to play?