#speculative-future, #speculative-making, #collaboration


Tim Durfee, Ben Hooker

Concept Description

Approaching an age where automation is taking over service jobs, the question of the intrinsic values of human labour arises. As humans are social creatures that crave human interactions, we are imagining a world where the remaining value of human labour is our ability to perform through our emotions,and ability to empathize as well as respond to each other’s feelings. This is a future of work where this emotional labour is visible and valued, magnified by the trend of quantified self movement.

Through this video, we envision Giverr, a service that connects emotional labourers and companies. Using sentiment detection, analysis, and quantification, emotional labourers are compensated for the emotional labour they exert during the work day. Consequently, we wonder about the effects of turning emotions into monetary value and how might they be corporatized, commodified and gamified in the inescapable capitalist future? How might this affect the aspects of control and privacy within this domain?


Prezi, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effect

Final Video

Design Process

With our common interest in the topic of emotional labor, Elaine and I are trying to imagine what could emotional labor look like in the future of work. We conducted some casual interviews with our friends who are currently or used to work at service jobs and ask them some key questions about how much emotional effort they put into their work. Thinking in terms of how labor is translated into value, work is often qualified through methods such as “how many hours worked" or "how much expertise on said subject is required”. We came up with the question, “is it possible to turn emotional labor into values?” And started to research on the technology that can capture emotions.

We drew a diagram that conncected all the ideas we have for future of work, and found many articles of tech startups’ invention of emotion tecchnology. Our core concept start emerging: What if we create a technology that could track emotional labor? 

We decided on creating a emotinoal labor recruitment company. We jokingly juxtapose the narrative our company ethos with Fiverr’s “another generic coporate video”, which led to the birth of Giverr


Satirizing Silicon Valley by making an imaginary emotional tracking tech start up leads me to some insights on how do we imagine the future of our work. However, at least in my opinion, it was such a pessimistic view on our speculative future which we suggest that we could not possibly escape from the present hegemony of tech industry. I also wish I could lean into the aspect of who are going to work for this company and how the technology design of the project could serve more critiques on gender politics, what actually constitues emotional labor and the unproductive and largely dismissed by capitalism “ugly feellinigs”.