What if? is a conceptual design project made by Roberto di Bisceglia, Valentine van Steenbergen, Yasmin van Rooijen, Bart van Lierop, Sophie von Behren and Wido Beukhof. What if? is an AI driven machine that simulates your past and allows you to find out what could have been, had you made different choices.
The idea was to make a futuristic conceptual device that would be revolutional but one which would also bring a lot of ethical dilemmas with it. We came up with What if?, a device that allows you to go back to any point in your past to try out different choices in the safety of VR. The final product would be a 150-second short film about our device that'd show what it could do but also show it's ethical dilemmas.
You can view the full video below!
In our short film we follow the story of Sophie and Roberto, a couple which is troubled by Sophie's addiction to the machine. Sophie uses What if? to constantly escape into the safety of VR. Roberto is clearly not having it any longer.
Roberto ends up ending the relationship and Sophie moves out. Heartboken, Sophie decides to fire up the What if? machine again and again to try out every single choice she could have made differently in order to save her relationship only to realise that the machine can not come up with a reality in which the two would've still been together as Roberto had already decided he'd break up with her before she entered the machine. In the end, the only viable option would be to get rid of the machine.
I took it upon myself to design and create the movie prop of the What if? machine. As an Interaction Designer I saw this as a pristine opportunity to create something physical once again. The result was this What if? machine movie prop. With the flick of the switch the lights come on and the machine produces a low humming sound. The interface is a choker that's wrapped around the neck and is connected to the machine through a thick cable.