Iiris is sitting by the window and looking at the landscape. It has been raining all September and she is feeling slightly melancholic. Suddenly, the window brightens up. Iiris’ favourite place, a sheltered cove on a small Greek island, appears instead of the gloomy landscape.
“Is it better already?” asks an artificial intelligence entity in her ear.
“Yes,” Iiris responds.
She starts working. Or can it even be called work any more? Her task is to produce human art. Demand for it returned once poems, paintings and symphonies created by computers went out of fashion. People wanted something genuine, created by another human being with feelings.
“Table, set yourself to a 30 degree angle,” Iiris asks.
The claytronic table, comprised of small robots communicating with each other, changes its inclination, and Iiris fixes a paper to it.
“Robots, start filming my work in twenty seconds,” Iiris requests. Small mechanical insects buzz next to her right shoulder from the robot perch, zooming into the paper on the table.
“Computer”, play Air by Bach.
“Emotion scanner, start live feed to the customer,” Iiris commands.
Once the first melancholic notes from the violin echo in the workroom, Iiris grabs her paintbrush and closes her eyes. She becomes absorbed in the music and lets it clear her thoughts. She simply is there. Moves her hand with the music. The paintbrush draws a line that interprets the sensations and feelings aroused by the music in Iiris.
The music stops.
“Computer, sleep,” Iiris says, opening her eyes.
She places her paintbrush on the table and looks at the line she drew, curving from one edge of the paper to another. It is strong in places, in other places it is hardly visible. But the line is not art.
What is art is the overall experience, comprising the hand movements, the swish of the paintbrush on the paper, and above all feelings -that is what Iiris has just shared with her customers online to their emotion receivers. Emotions have been transmitted as signals all over the world and touched numerous people who have been willing to pay for this experience.
Iiris sighs. The deep feelings have exhausted her, and she decides to go out. It is almost eight o’clock, the trees lining the street will soon start to glow. That is the moment when the world succumbs to creeping darkness. The moment from which Iiris sucks new life, new feelings to share.
Elina Hiltunen is an independent futurist. She has worked at the Finland Futures Research Centre, Finpro and Nokia’s corporate strategy department in the field of predicting the future. Nowadays she is an entrepreneur. Hiltunen is also finalising a book on the future of technology with her husband, Kari Hiltunen, D.Tech. The name of the book is Teknoelämää 2035 – Miten teknologia muuttaa tulevaisuuttamme? (Techno living 2035 – How will technology change our future?) The book will be published in January 2014 by Talentum.