CALL OF THE UNKNOWN
Looking to express your deepest, darkest secrets? How about getting those views on the pending war with Iraq off your chest? Perhaps you murdered a drifter and you need to confess — or maybe you just want to declare your unrequited feelings for Bea Arthur.
No matter what the subject, have we got the outlet for you. Created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology student Kelly Dobson, the AgoraPhone is a big, orange, candy cane-shaped telephone sculpture on the MIT campus that allows callers from across the globe to vent their thoughts and emotions to the public at large. Simply dial the AgoraPhone number (617-253-6237) and start yakking — sooner or later, someone's bound to come along and lend an ear. And because there is no recording log or caller ID, anonymity is guaranteed.
“I like looking at how machines and devices work with people, and how people use them in ways that are different from how they were designed,” said Dobson, who's earning her Ph.D. from MIT's Media Laboratory. “I'm interested in building machines that people can use personally and interpersonally.”
The AgoraPhone — so named after the Greek word “agora,” which translates to an open-air gathering place where citizens can come together to discuss the issues of the day — began to formulate out of Dobson's concern over the growing dearth of outlets promoting free speech.
At the same time, she wanted to investigate the “architecture” of public spaces, and create an art installation that would encourage people to interact more responsively and responsibly.
“People have things they want to talk about, but they don't always have someone to talk to,” Dobson said. “And public spaces don't seem as socially vibrant as they should be. So I combined the two.”
AgoraPhone callers are greeted by a recording that explains the project and offers options for voice masking before connecting to the remote public site. A full duplex audio link is then opened between the caller and the sculpture; the caller can not only speak with random passersby, but also listen in on their conversations and other goings-on around the phone as well. Some calls are serious, others not: “Some people call with real issues — they're stressed and need someone to talk to,” Dobson said. “I've seen people get in fights, but I've also seen people dancing around.”
Dobson's next project is, by her own admission, much more abstract.
“The walls of a building will hear and speak through the other walls — the building infrastructure becomes the telephone infrastructure,” she explained. But she isn't ready to abandon the AgoraPhone just yet.
“I'd like to have an AgoraPhone in sites all over world,” Dobson said. “Then you could call the ocean, or Times Square. You'd just start talking to whoever's there.”
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
In this Webinar you will learn how to create a real-time relationship with your customers, how to proactively improve the customer experience, and how to successfully target and cross-sell services to boost incremental revenue.
- Megabytes to Megabucks, Bandwidth to Business Models: How 4G Is Changing Everything
- How to Unplug Your Redundant Telco Apps To Save Money and Improve Efficiency
- When IaaS Isn't Enough: Service Provider Business Models to Drive Growth and Build Margin
- How to Transform Your Aging Telco Voice Network to Drive New Profits and Revenue
- Creative Licensing Approaches for Telcos & Their Network Equipment Vendors
- Smart Home Opportunity: Balancing Customer Data & Privacy
This paper discusses the rise of Diameter and benefits of Diameter Protocol.
- Conducting The Orchestration – Order Management at the Speed of Business
- Toward a Converged Network Edge
- Beyond Spam – Email Security in the Age of Blended Threats
- 6 Important Steps to Evaluating a Web Filtering Solution
- The Expertise to Protect You from Botnet and DDoS Attacks
- Seeing is Believing – Bridging the Order Visibility Gap
Service providers are under tremendous pressure to turn up new services faster then before and, at the same time,
to do it at less expense - and intra-office fiber is one of the biggest challenges in terms of both cost and service
From the Blog
Join the Discussion
Get more out of Connected Planet by visiting our related resources below:
Connected Planet highlights the next generation of service providers, as well as how their customers use services in new ways.Subscribe Now