By introducing a fictional product that seduces consumers with false promises, HeLi-AI aims to stimulate reflection on how often we are being manipulated online, how susceptible we are to techno-optimism and how easy it is to fall into the over-productivity narrative.

We all desire to be more, to give more, to get more. In this constant pursuit for more, Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to lighten our burden, remove any restrictions and help us on our way to total satisfaction. These are the mechanisms driving HeLi-AI.

So, what is HeLi-AI?

HeLi-AI promises you effortless connection, and liberation from communication. It uses AI to create a perfect proxy of you, a digital double that replies to messages from your mum while you sleep, lets your partner know which restaurant you’d prefer to go to, and reaches out to friends you haven’t talked to in a while. But why stop there? Having a perfect proxy offers limitless possibilities. There’s no need for you to be tied to your screen, trying desperately to keep up online – because your proxy can do it all for you. It can reach out to people and find like-minded minds more quickly than ever before. And it can find the things you like more efficiently than any marketing company out there. It will be you – just without the limitations. The sky’s the limit.

But would you own your own copy of your proxy? Or would it be the property of some shady company? How would your data be protected – if it were protected at all? Would you trust HeLi-AI if it is ruled by the mechanisms of a free market? Would only making it available to wealthy people contribute to the further growth of the social divide? 

HeLi-AI was developed as part of the second edition of CODE: Reclaiming Digital Agency, a collaborative project by IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] (Utrecht), School of Machines, Making & Make Believe (Berlin), Werktank (Leuven) and Privacy Salon / Privacytopia (Brussels and Antwerp).‍ CODE 2022 has come about thanks to the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL, City of Utrecht, Democracy and Media Fund, Fonds Soziokultur, Cultural Participation Fund, the Democracy and Media Fund, the Dutch Embassy in Belgium (Brussels), the Dutch Embassy in Germany (Berlin) and the Goethe Institut.


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