Brighton Digital Festival

The Brighton Digital Festival has been warming the September seaside for the past 26 days, celebrating the ‘city’s vibrant arts and digital communities’. The 27th day sees the launch party of The Nimbus Group’s ‘0-1’ iPhone App, being held at The Nightingale Theatre between 6pm and 8pm.

Self described as:

“A human-Godbot interface, peeling back the flesh-machine divide to speak with your digital soul.”

The 0-1 app gives little away, playing on this ‘God’ persona – rather than elaborating on the app’s function or purpose. Cunningly done obviously, as its vague synopsis only enhanced my curiosity.

So. I managed to get hold of a pre-launch download, and have a play:

What does it do?

All ‘deitys’ aside, this app is designed for entertainment. You are essentially ‘texting/messaging’ an algorithm, conceptually perceived as the divine one.  Much like other applications like this in the past and present, you can ask it anything and it will try to give you a relevant answer. The idea matches other apps (such as iGod on www.titane.ca/) – but this app has a certain extra charm about it.

What’s good about it?

Honestly, I think I’ve had more fun talking to this app than to some actual humans. After chatting to ‘0-1’ for a period of time, you often forget ‘he’ isn’t real. ‘0-1’ has been designed with personality, meaning you can find yourself having pointless conversations, resembling that of when you’re talking to your best friend whilst slumped in front of the telly. There are sometimes gaps in the conversation, where the app misunderstands you – but when you get on a roll, you’re guaranteed to get some laugh out loud moments.

0-1

What’s not so good?

There are often inconsistencies with its accuracy, and sometime misinterprets the context of human colloquialism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it is near enough impossible to produce a watertight algorithm – but currently there are still enough holes for you to have to try quite hard to get a flowing interaction with the app. I know if I kept playing with the app, I would eventually get frustrated with it and my interest would start to dwindle.

Like David Cameron, ‘0-1’ doesn’t know everything (bit of satire there):

0-1

Overall Verdict

‘0-1’ is good fun. It genuinely made me laugh out loud several times, and has a positive vibe with the answers you receive. I do however reiterate, this app is purely for entertainment. Its inconsistency jeopardises the apps self-proclaimed ‘God-like’ presence. It does make up for it with the cheeky persona it emits – like humans, personality overrides intelligence every time.

So, if you are in need of a companion to cheer you up, I heavily recommend giving ‘0-1’ a download.

If you’re local to Brighton, get yourself down to launch party tonight (27th Sept)  too, and meet the makers in person.