In a world where your friends can now set you up on virtual blind dates, it’s hard to believe tech could be the solution to any uncomfortable situation.
Lauren McCarthy is a coder and an artist whose strange art experiments put subjects face to face with their deepest social anxieties. She might not be able to cure your crippling awkwardness — or her own, for that matter — but she has designed over two dozen tech-based performances to help you breathe a little easier, even if it just means making a quick getaway.
A couple weeks ago Facebook came clean: it wasn’t just your ex and the photos of him and his new girlfriend that were playing with your emotions. It was an inside job. Facebook’s data scientists — or perhaps we should call them omnipotent puppeteers — had manipulated users’ feeds without their consent.
Now, after public outcry and a lackluster apology from Sheryl Sandberg, Brooklyn artist and programmer Lauren McCarthy is helping us reclaim our feelings. Her latest experiment is called the Facebook Mood Manipulator, a Google Chrome extension that allows users to adjust the content of their news feeds according to how they want to feel.