Project: The Future of Currency
Exchange Point is multi-currency exchange machine with a quirk – people can haggle with it.
Whether people want to trade in health data to earn some Bitcoins or simply want to get rid of an old coffee mug, Exchange Point allows people to sell both personal data and physical items in a convenient way. Data and items can be converted to cash, likes, followers, Bitcoin, ad blocks, and much more.
This project was a result of the three week course Working Inteligence with Simone Rebaudengo and Joshua Noble.
After one week of research and one week of concepting Yee Mun Ooi, Arvind Sanjeev and me built the working prototype from scratch in 5 days.
Borrowing the metaphor of an ATM and a slot machine, Exchange Point treads the line between providing a legitimate way of extracting money and being an ethically-questionable chance machine.
The prototype invites people to think about questions such as:
What will be recognised as currency in the future? Who gets to determine the value of a certain currency and how would it be determined? How does it feel to negotiate with a machine? Can a machine really be objective?
Exchange Point first analyses the image taken of the object using Processing and then passes it to the YOLO Darknet object recognition system. After identifying the object, the program then crawls Ebay using the Ebay API and finds the price of a similar object.
The machine then proposes an offer to the customer and provokes the customer to haggle for a better price. Other technical touchpoints in this system include a motorised cabinet for storing and scanning the object as well as a thermal printer that prints out a receipt of the transaction.