Inspired by the Nutri Amorists and the Turing Foodies Tarot cards, we developed a dating sequence that brings together gut bacteria, trees, technology and potential lovers.
In it, the health of the tree and the contents of a picnic basket depend on – and make sense-able – physiological signs of arousal, measured through the lover’s spit and a swallowable sensor, before and after dating. Four steps, from nutritious dating to multi-species flourishing.
1. Prepare: Swallow the butterfly tracker pill, chew a small handful of Zira. Spit in the AI bucket.
2. Wait for the AI to find your match
3. Picnic: with your date. The health of the tree that provides shade and the contents of the picnic basket that nourishes you and your date are determined by the AI, based on a combination of digital gut sensor data and the biological data provided by the fermenting cabbage you feed with your microflora.
4. Post-date check-in: Home again, chew Zira once more to freshen your breath and spit in the AI bucket, to close the cycle.
Relationships are not linear processes, and while technologists may try to invent solutions for matters of the heart, we propose that such matters must be complex and multi-species in their unfolding. Our group contained people on many sides of many fences. Techno-optimists and techno-sceptics, early adopters and inherently cautious, wary, even potentially suspicious developers of speculative fabulations. The resulting step-wise process brings together ritual, nature, technology, data and chance.
Doesn’t everybody want to find love? Many people consult diverse oracles in their search for love. Might we operationalise such rituals to better afford multi-species flourishing? Do we sometimes need to look to ourselves, and love ourselves, before we can love another?