Lassor Feasley

Say Hello to AVA

Say Hello to AVA was a branded experience Lassor used to collect substantive research on public attitudes and opinions about self-driving cars. AVA, or the Autonomous Voice Assistant, was an artificially intelligent digital persona that inhabited and controlled an autonomous vehicle. Lassor staged an unveiling of AVA at the Union Square Farmers Market in which participants were invited to say hello to AVA, and have a brief conversation about the future of mobility with her.

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SAY HELLO TO AVA

Say Hello to AVA was a branded experience Lassor used to collect substantive research on public attitudes and opinions about self-driving cars. AVA, or the Autonomous Voice Assistant, was an artificially intelligent digital persona that inhabited and controlled an autonomous vehicle. Lassor staged an unveiling of AVA at the Union Square Farmers Market in which participants were invited to say hello to AVA, and have a brief conversation about the future of mobility with her.

 
 
 

SELECTED INSIGHTS:

 
 "I don’t know if self-driving cars will ever be ready. Phones crash every day; we can afford to have cars do that. I wouldn’t want my child to ride one.   -HARRY

"I don’t know if self-driving cars will ever be ready. Phones crash every day; we can afford to have cars do that. I wouldn’t want my child to ride one.

-HARRY

 
 "I would travel more. It is hard to get out of the city, driving is exhausting. We are a long way away from being ready for self-driving cars.    -KAMOSE

"I would travel more. It is hard to get out of the city, driving is exhausting. We are a long way away from being ready for self-driving cars. 

-KAMOSE

 
 "Getting around gets harder as you age. I have family outside of the city that could seriously use self driving cars. I think it will be a long time until we can trust them".   -PAULEEN

"Getting around gets harder as you age. I have family outside of the city that could seriously use self driving cars. I think it will be a long time until we can trust them".

-PAULEEN

 
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THE TRUTH ABOUT AVA:

In reality, AVA was not actually an intelligent digital platform. Lassor hid an iPad beneath a false steering wheel. The iPad contained a camera that fed a live video feed to a voice actress hired to play the persona of AVA. The voice actress, Lauren, was trained in improvisational performance, and Lassor worked with her to develop a spontaneous and engaging personality. 

The AVA brand persona guidelines Lassor prepared were extensive; over ten pages that outlined the charters backstory, childhood traumas, and motives. It contained a loose script and three ‘acts’ which helped the conversation flow in a way that lent itself to Lassor’s research.

An example of a start to finish interaction between AVA and a participant can be found by clicking here.

 
 
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Why was AVA just Ten?

The constraint of AVA's youth served Lassor's intent in three ways.

 

ONE

AVA’s age framed her conversations around Lassor's research topic. If you were a car that couldn’t drive, you’d be curious, too.

TWO

Some research subjects are hostile towards new technology. But who could get mad at a ten year old? AVA's youth disarmed partisipants for better conversations

THREE

Sadly, Lassor could not make a real self-driving car. AVA’s age helped passengers suspend disbelief since it provided a pretext for her inability to drive.

 
 
 

Marketing Materials

In addition to AVA's branded persona, Lassor created a logo and brand guidelines that were used to produce a unified experience for participants. For example, a website, newsletter, and flyer were created using AVA's unique tone and brand (pictured below).

 
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