The original 8-Ball is built from an oversized billiards ball containing an embedded cylinder filled with blue liquid and an icosahedron (20-sided die) with 10 affirmative, 5 non-committal, and 5 negative answers. In re-constructing the device, my professor and I sawed the ball in half to replace the cylinder and icosahedron with an LCD, battery, and microcontroller, along with a bit of Arduino code to make an accelerometer trigger the decision-making algorithm.
The A.I.tball is based on a concept from Bruno Latour’s Where Are the Missing Masses? wherein he explored the morality present in objects, delving into the agency and morality in decisions made by people and objects, or as he defines them: humans, non-humans, figures, and signs. Continuing this discussion, the A.I.tball asks: What changes when humans are removed from decision-making? If a device is making decisions based on a user's data, which party is responsible for the decision?
Without falling too deep down the rabbit hole of AI sentience, the A.I.tball is intended to make the user question their agency in a world that is evermore driven by algorithms they are unwittingly contributing to.
The A.I.tball was created in the Problematic Futures course taught by Tyler Fox and Brock Craft, both of whom provided invaluable advice and assistance in its construction.