‘The Glass Room’: Free S.F. exhibit examines our tech lives

Glass Rooms

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s something about seeing deleted web searches printed out in receipt form — a physical manifestation of virtual activity — that puts things in perspective.

That’s just one of the thought-provoking pieces at The Glass Room, which opened to the public Wednesday in San Francisco. Presented by Silicon Valley-based Mozilla and curated by international organization Tactical Tech, the free exhibit will be downtown for the next three weeks.

It’s the first time in the Bay Area for the traveling exhibit, which started in Berlin three years ago and has also been to London and New York. Mozilla says it has been seen by more than 30,000 people.

Also among the about 50 installations on display when this publication attended the press preview Tuesday: a Rolodex containing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s many public apologies; a computer that scans your ID like a bartender would and shows you all the information that can be gleaned from it; and a giant diagram titled “Anatomy of an AI system” that shows the human, environmental and ethical costs of producing the Amazon Echo.

There’s also a bar, but for data detox. And a vending machine where you insert money to buy social media “likes.”

“It’s not futuristic, not a what-if,” said Erica Terry Derryck, spokeswoman for Mozilla, the nonprofit organization and maker of the Firefox browser. “It’s grounded in stuff that’s happening now.”

The exhibit, which is just a couple of blocks away from Twitter’s headquarters and not far from other tech companies in the city, comes as the tech industry is under pressure from politicians, academics, advocacy groups and others over everything from privacy to artificial intelligence to its contracts with the government. One of the installations is a timeline of protests against some of the biggest names in tech, including Apple, Google, PayPal and data-mining startup Palantir.

The Glass Room will also host talks, screenings and workshops during its time at the 28,000-square-foot former retail store, which is right across from Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street.


THE GLASS ROOM

Address: 838 Market St. at 4th St., San Francisco

Dates: Oct. 16 to Nov. 3

Hours: Daily, noon to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free


This content was originally published here.