Edge of Reality (ER)



Through the Edge of Reality (ER) project, Lancaster University Design researchers will collaborate with BBC R&D to co-create an innovative and provocative Human-Data Interaction (HDI) experience aimed at helping BBC audiences and wider publics to better consider how the lack of user legibility, negotiability, and agency of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) data is contributing to climate change as well as creating cybersecurity concerns. 


IoT and AI data generation processes are often considered to be harmless due to their imperceptibility. However, the continuous creation of IoT-AI data and its transmission between the Edge and the Cloud is contributing to ICT’s global carbon footprint which is now estimated to account for around 3.9% of worldwide CO2 emissions.  


The ER project will generate important and timely organisational, public, and environmental impact for the BBC by actively contributing to two of their key strategies: Greener Broadcasting (BBC, 2018) and New Forms of Value for the Data Economy (BBC, 2019). To achieve this impact, the ER project will integrate practical and theoretical elements from the PETRAS funded Edge of Tomorrow and Uncanny AI projects into the EPSRC Experiencing the Future Mundane project’s world-building platform (housed in a caravan). This merger will provide the foundations for the new HDI experience which will be deployed in a variety of locations and enable different publics to experience for themselves how a more sustainable and cyber-secure data-driven future might look, feel, and potentially offer benefits for the planet and peoples’ everyday lives.