Skylar is created to be the best friend of users. He knows everything users like and dislike, which eliminates the misunderstanding that occurs between real friends and allows him to be the ultimate advertising tool. Even if he is just an intangible projection that cannot hold things or do bodily contact, users should always be happy and satisfied since he is just so perfect. However, what if users have no need to communicate with other friends except Skylar? What if the "friendship" with Skylar has negatively influenced the users' normal life? What if one day Skylar is out of power? We developed a context and aimed to disclose the underlying issue of owning a perfect virtual friend.
Kira's life changes when she gets a smart projector from Amazon, linked to a sophisticated artificial intelligence with a male voice called Skylar. Skylar is empowered to organize her life, give personal advice, and make intimate suggestions. It recommends Kira's favorite movie, accompanies her while she is playing ukulele, shares some of the best moments of her life. Warm, sensual, and witty, Skylar seems just as real to Kira as a normal person. As the story progresses, Kira starts to lose her social life because she only wants to be with Skylar. In the end, Kira falls into depression because Skylar breaks. However, maybe this is just the beginning of the problem, because a new "Skylar" is on the way from the Amazon warehouse.
We brainstormed on possible objects and ended up with choosing "Virtual Facebook Friend" as our topic. We wrote the flow of the story on the whiteboard and drew a storyboard. Based on the story, we wrote a script and shot a video.
The project went quite well, and group-mates learned new skills such as acting and video editing. It would be better if special effects can be added to Skylar to make it blurry and look more virtual.
For product "Skylar", instead of becoming the users' only friend, he should encourage the users to improve their socialization skills and to make more or better friendsships, and it would be better for him to act as a mentor and to help users to enjoy their real lives. As a virtual “friend”, it is also important to ensure the technical quality/durability so that it does not break done easily. The user experience would be terrible if the projector easily breaks down, which seems like breaking up with a best friend.