ALEX, Your Best Friend At Work

Carrie Wang

If we ever reach a world where artificial intelligence knows us better than we know ourselves, are we willing to give in to the all-powerful technology, trade our privacy for a sense of security, our free will for happiness? A semi-critical, moderately humorous look at the relationship between humans and machines, individuals and society.


“ALEX, Your Best Friend At Work” is a performance and participatory experience that takes the audience into a futuristic office constantly observed, measured and evaluated by an artificial intelligence system called “ALEX.”

For ALEX, every word, action or thought can be turned into data, measurable against an enormous database of rules and standards. Whenever the system detects anything out of the normal, acceptable range, the employee in question is required to attend a “repair session” a 10-20-minute one-on-one session with ALEX, watched by the other colleagues. Through conversation, data collection, various tests including facial expression analysis and speech analysis, ALEX helps the employee determine the root cause behind their unusual behavior, and make the necessary changes to fix their problems.

The project consists of two parts. The performance portion follows a linear narrative, in which an employee of the company gets caught on camera crying in the stairwell, a behavior deemed “out of range”and gets called in by ALEX for a repair session. The participatory portion of the project invites the audience to be immersed in the workplace environment under the gaze of ALEX.

In a culture driven by progress and pure efficiency, what does it mean to be human? Are emotions just obstacles to be taken care of? How has the development of technology changed human behavior? By exploring what it is like to be in a futuristic workplace controlled by an all-knowing, all-connected machine, my project aims to prompt reflections on the state of human alienation in a rule-based, technology-dominated society.



Thesis Presentation Video