Cognitive Photobooth


IBM ‘The Cognitive Phtobooth’

Can a machine know people better than they know themselves? To answer this question, we created an interactive installation, the Cognitive Photo Booth, where IBM's AI computing system, Watson, created data-driven portraits of people. Our data is who we are. It's an echo of our behavior. A record of our emotion. In the Cognitive Photo Booth – a key attraction at the AI-inspired Art with Watson portrait exhibition – IBM Watson turned data into the truest portrait ever captured, and showed how technology can reveal the person within. The Cognitive Photo Booth was also a key attraction in a larger exhibition: 'IBM Art with Watson: Hidden Portraits'.


Portraits of exhibit-goers were created based on traits Watson discovered was following a conversation, showcasing his ability to find novel insights in attendees. Using the Tone Analyzer APIs, Watson measured people's personality traits based on word choice and grouping, and used their scores, visualized through five custom emojis, as the basis for generating a custom poster-sized portrait, printed in minutes.


AI technology development can be intimidating. Through balancing futurist and humanist elements, we designed the Watson experience to be a friendly and intelligent conversation partner. We worked with our friends ManVsMachine to create the Watson avatar animation, and developed an user experience focused on intuitive gestures and natural language.