Who wants to write an email? Interactive quiz show about AI at Dublin Fringe Festival

A woman with long brown hair, wearing a yellow suit standing with arms open in front of a lilac background

A new interactive quiz show about AI-generated emails, developed by TLRH’s Laura Allcorn & Jennifer Edmond, will open in The Lir Academy on September 9th as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.

Our emails are writing themselves. It’s weird, right? Do we want artificial intelligence (AI) to handle our personal communications? Does AI really understand what it means to be sentient? More importantly, can you tell human from AI?

Developed through co-creation sessions held across Ireland, Laura Allcorn & Jennifer Edmond’s new interactive show, Who Wants To Write An Email?, is (probably) the world’s first ever quiz show about AI generated text, and it’s coming to Dublin Fringe Festival this September.

Speaking about the project, show co-creator Laura Allcorn said:

“We created this interactive quiz show to make it fun for audiences to explore how AI powered generative text applications (like ChatGPT) actually work. Not just that, but to have a laugh while questioning how this application of AI shapes our identities, relationships, thinking, and language. What exactly does it mean to be human in an automated world?”

The show surfaces the Irish public’s feelings about living in the AI era. Audience members have the opportunity to take the hot seat and win bizarre prizes. All they have to do is think like an AI, and try to make sense of AI’s attempts to write difficult emails – like how to tell a neighbour that their bedroom curtains are in fact see-through.

Funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme and Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, the show aims to engage the public with science that shapes society. It is created by artist, performer Laura Allcorn (Institute For Comedic Inquiry), and researcher Dr. Jennifer Edmond (School of Languages Literatures and Cultural Studies, Trinity College Dublin, and the ADAPT SFI Research Centre).

Speaking about the project, Head of Education and Public Engagement at SFI, Dr Lisa Higgins said: “AI is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives, shaping our society, economy and our world. While offering the potential to help us accelerate research, for example in tackling the climate crisis or in finding new cures for diseases, we are still learning how to navigate its capabilities. A diversity of voices must be included in debating how we best manage the challenges it also presents. SFI supports engaging the public in these important conversations and theatre is a wonderfully creative and novel way to do so.”

Since autumn of 2022 text generating AI applications (like ChatGPT) have captured our imaginations. You can ask AI to write anything, and it will. What happens when AI lands in your favourite email service? It’s about to. There’s never been a better time for a topical quiz show that helps us make sense of AI in our lives.

Think you can outsmart AI? This is your chance! Join us at the Lir Academy Studio 2 from 9th-12th September as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival 2023. Can’t make these shows? Don’t worry, as Who Wants To Write An Email? is also coming to VISUAL Carlow on Friday 6th October for one night only! 

Dublin Fringe Festival show details: 

PREVIEW: 9 September 18:30, €11
PERFORMANCES: 10 – 12 September 20:45, €13/€11
VENUE: The Lir Academy – Studio 2
DURATION: 75 min
Tickets: From the Dublin Fringe Festival Website

Dublin Fringe Festival will run from 9th – 24th September 2023.

VISUAL show details: 

PERFORMANCE : 6th October 19:30, €13
VENUE: George Bernard Shaw Theatre, VISUAL Carlow
Tickets: from the Visual Carlow website

Who Wants To Write An Email? is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute at Trinity College Dublin. With support from the ADAPT SFI Research Centre and the Institute For Comedic Inquiry. Developed at FRINGE LAB.

Meet the creators: 

Jennifer Edmond (Trinity College Dublin and the ADAPT SFI Research Centre) and Laura Allcorn (Artist,  Performer, and founder of Institute For Comedic Inquiry) met in 2021 at a Science Gallery Dublin residency programme that paired artists and researchers interested in exploring biases in Artificial Intelligence. This quiz show is their second act! Their first collaboration was SKU-Market, an interactive mini-market about social profiling algorithms. It was part of Science Gallery Dublin’s BIAS: Built This Way exhibition in 2021-22.

Creator biographies: 

Laura Allcorn is an artist, performer and the founder of the Institute For Comedic Inquiry. Her collaborations with scientists and researchers explore how emerging technologies shape society. She’s interested in how applying humour to complex topics can help us better understand and rehearse for the future we want. Each of her projects revolve around a comedic premise designed for audience participation. She creates visually striking sets, props, costumes, and visual media that immerse audiences in a speculative, satirical world. Laura has led a workout program for thwarting surveillance, created a mini-market about algorithmic social profiling, and played a Data Doctor in a live research experiment about privacy. Her work has been shown at Science Gallery Dublin, The Victoria & Albert Museum, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, ArtScience Museum Singapore, and Museum Of Discovery at UniSA. comedicinquiry.com

Jennifer Edmond is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin where she is co-director of the Trinity Centre for Digital Humanities, Director of the MPhil in Digital Humanities and Culture and a funded Investigator of the ADAPT SFI Research Centre. Her research explores interdisciplinarity, humanistic and hybrid research processes, and the emergence of critical digital humanities as a contributor to both research and technology development. Over the course of the past 10 years, Jennifer has coordinated a large number of significant funded research projects, including her most recent project on AI, big data and democracy, KT4D. She has served in leadership roles in a number of European-level policy and infrastructure organisations, including six years as a Director and President of DARIAH-EU, four on the European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform, and her current role as a member of the Governing Board of the European Association of Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH).