For Halloween, Aleks Krotoski asks if we are haunted by our technology, or are we haunting it?
So much of our experience of technology can feel a bit like being haunted. It starts like any good ghost story with the just mildly unsettling; things aren't were you left them or seem to have moved on their own within our devices. Its a creepy feeling that leaves you unsure about what to believe. Our understanding of how much of technology works is so limited that when it starts to behave out of the ordinary we have no explanation. This is when we start to make very peculiar judgement's; "why did you do that" we plead, as if some hidden force was at work.
For some these feelings of being haunted by our technology can develop into full blown apparitions; keen gamers frequently experience Game transfer Phenomena where they literally see images of their game play in the real world, an involuntary augmented reality. While the hallucinations aren't necessarily distressing in themselves the experiences can leave individuals questioning their sanity.
The coming internet of things will bring problems of its own; smart locks that mysteriously open by themselves for example as if under the influence of some poltergeist. Aleks herself has had the experience of digital 'gas lighting' (a term drawn from an Ingrid Bergman movie of a woman being driven mad by husband) when her partner logged on to their home automation system remotely and started to mess with the lights while Aleks was home alone. As one commentator puts it in a reworking of the old Arthur C. Clarke quote "any sufficiently advanced hacking is indistinguishable from haunting."
And as our devices and appliances increasingly start talking to each other bypassing us altogether who's to say we, like Nicole Kidman's character in The Others, haven't become the ghost in the machine.
Producer: Peter McManus.
Leigh is a London-based composer / producer / sound designer with a keen interest in music technology. His experience in horror sound design has led me to work on Hollywood trailers and feature films, and I’ve created Halloween soundtracks for everything from wax-work museums to haunted mazes.
He shares some of his most unnerving sound design with us, and shares the secret to creating a good haunting with technology.
He’s created thousands of sound effects and capture nature sounds, available for people to listen to at www.calmsound.com
Dr. Angelica Ortiz de Gortari
Dr. Angelica B. Ortiz de Gortari is a psychologist researcher at the The Center for the Science of Learning & Technology (SLATE) at the University of Bergen. She did her PhD on Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) at Nottingham Trent University and soon she will start her postdoc fellowship for continuing investigating about Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) founded by Marie Curie COFUND at the University of Liège at the Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit.
She shares her expertise in GTP, which examines the transfer of experiences from the virtual to the real world manifesting as altered sensorial perceptions, spontaneous thoughts and involuntary behaviours.
Tobias Revell is an artist and designer. Spanning different media and genres, his work addresses failed utopias, rogue actors, unexplained phenomena, and the idea of technology as territory. Tobias is Senior Lecturer in Critical and Digital Design at the London College of Communication, UAL. He is a co-founder of research consultancy Strange Telemetry and one-half of research project Haunted Machines.
He explains the essence of a good haunting, and whether or not our tech is haunting us, or we are the ghosts in the machine.
Professor Jeffrey Sconce is a professor and cultural historian of media and film. He is an associate professor in the Screen Cultures program at Northwestern University and the Author of ‘Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television’.
He explains the how technology and haunting became intertwined in our culture, moving from the wonderful promises of the first ‘spiritual telegraph’ to a more malevolent spirit lurking within our gadgetry.