Perfect Customization

Design Fiction | Artificial Intelligence | IoT 

As technology gives us more and more help, we crave customization and expect it to meet our needs in every aspect of our lives. We are no longer satisfied with the individuality of man-made objects, and turn our eyes to nature. In this era of extreme customization, a fixed, unified community environment is no longer enough for us. Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of things offer opportunities for extreme customization. The IoT hosts the ubiquitous AI that takes data from multiple sources, delivers it, and makes comprehensive analysis and decisions to understand individual preferences and provide services.

The project creates a dreamy neighborhood where people can not only customize everything inside the house but even control the environment outside. Extreme customization within the community, including AI animals and a shared set of community components. AI animals and other smart home appliances can learn about people's living conditions and judge their explicit and hidden needs through machine learning such as object recognition, motion analysis, and facial expression recognition, etc. As a medium for moving between private and public Spaces, AI animals also undertake the transmission of data in and out of the house and invoke Shared community components to customize the community environment for humans. The Shared community component provides a variety of forms to meet different needs, but it is also limited and needs to be perfectly customized by means of negotiation among AI.

What will happen when extreme customization is applied to the neighborhood? If components within the community can be shared, what are those components? Can AI accurately explore human desires? What will happen if there is a conflict between the desires of different people?


This class investigates the design of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) at the site/scale/space of the neighborhood, the urban, but human-scale environment. As people traverse their day moving through interior and exterior, public and private spaces, how might pervasive AI systems manifest? (These terms are meant for broad interpretation and redefinition.) We are interested in the ecologies and complex outcomes created by a range of AI embedded in the environment--what would the interactions be like, how do the different systems interact with each other, and with humans? What role should design play?