The Amazon Echo is a household robot you command with your voice. The Big Mouth Billy Bass is a hokey piece of mounted home decor that sings goofy songs your grandma loves. With a bit of clever hacking, they can unite in a blissfully uncomfortable display of weirdness. Or, to be more specific, the Echo’s Alexa Voice Service can be harnessed to communicate through the fish’s mouth, which is exactly what happens in the video below:
This is the work of Brian Kane, a developer and instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Kane explained to Mashable that he used an open-sourced platform called Aruidno to make Alexa’s words come out of the fish’s mouth. Although presumably used to give children nightmares, Kane’s Big Mouth Billy Bass creation was the focus of a lecture he recently gave at RISD.
He told Mashable:
"This piece was an in-class demo to show the students how to rapid prototype a concept and get it working quickly, so that we can test new ideas on people and make decisions...We're looking at AI as artists and designers, making new experiences and using the design process to find out what life can be like in a world of intelligent machines.”
Kane talked up his students at RISD, calling the school “the new MIT.” His students are concocting plenty of similarly strange ideas that he hopes are “emotionally engaging.” This will be honed by “bringing an artistic sensibility to technology through storytelling and unlimited creativity," he said.
While “the world of intelligent machines” Kane talks about represents a daunting new frontier for humanity, it’s sometimes pleasant to know that a platform algorithm can complement something as innocuous as a Big Mouth Billy Bass, which should make us laugh.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.