During the Meditation 3 I designed an ritual between performer, audience and Google Home device. I wanted to push that idea further and solve the issues I faced. For the final project I designed another interaction which allowed to be more flexible from magician’s point of view and come up with a better storyline. I start the story by telling the audience that even though I am a skeptic, recently I’ve experienced a psychic seance which really made me think otherwise. I refer to audience to randomly choose a playing card. And in order to not to make subjective and really random, I have everyone choose one property of the card – once chooses the color, another one the suit, another one the value. In contrast with my previous assignment, I didn’t have a free choice, but here I do. Then I have someone join me to do the experiment.

The conversation with the device starts. I imagined how modern psychic company will look like. And how their customer support will look like. So we are calling to the fictional office called “Office of Paranormal Claims” to do the experiment.

An example is shown bellow using the Google Assistant, which allows to hold the same conversation as with Google Home. By the end of the conversation the “psychic” tells the playing card and random number that audience member is thinking of. For better experience turn on the sound.

In my previous post I have explained how Google Dialogflow works and how to build a conversation. For this project I have following intents: 

Here I improved the conversation flow using follow-up intents, which allows to trigger specific intents only if it followed by the previous one. This way you specify the path of the conversation, rather then triggering it without initial conditions. One of the key elements I developed is how the device is able to name the randomly selected card. Instead of playing cards I could use any other limited set of preknown elements. I designed a protocol between me and device to be able to pass information in a hidden, non-direct way having no pre-recorded outcome. Fulfillment defines the conversational interface for your Action to obtain user input and the logic to process the input and eventually fulfill the Action. I wrote a webhook which gets my command as input, decodes my message and extracts the playing card information. And then finally delivers the information to the audience. This way I can encode any sort of information, keep hidden communication and remain unnoticeable. I was inspired by mentalist duo The Evanons, they developed verbal secret communication method and made it a performance.

The final revelation intent looks like this:

Dialog example:

- Hey, thank you for calling Office of Paranormal Claims. Our working hours are Mon-Sun, 10am to 8pm. For English say English, para espanol decir espanol.
- English
- Please stay on the line while we connect you to the first available psychic. - Hi my name is Sarah, how can I help you ?
- Hi, can we talk to customer support representative ?
- Sure, which department you want me to connect you? Department of Cleromancy and fortune telling, astrology or telepathy ?
- Telepathy department, please.
- If you have a preferred psychic, I can connect you directly. Do you have one ?
- Yes, can we talk to psychic Sidney?
- Hi, Sidney is here. How can I assist you ?
- Hi. A friend of mine does not believe you can read her mind. Can you prove it ?
- Let us try. Ask your friend to look at me. What is your name ?
- My name is Mark
- Mark, you have one playing card in your mind. That is great. 
Keep in your mind and please do not forget. Also, in a count of three, I want to you think of a number from ONE to TEN. Any number. One. Two. Three. You should have a number NOW . 
Mentally send the number and the playing card to me. Do not get distracted please. I like working with human mind. I will write the number you are thinking of in a paper in front of you. 
Can you please turn my arm on ? Thank you Hayk. I think I am getting the playing card you are thinking of. You had a free choice to come up with a playing card. 
And you know, life involves choices. 
Your card is a Black Your card is a High card. 
Your card is the Ace of Spades. 
Mark, did I write the correct number ?
- Yes
- I hope you enjoyed this psychic experience .Thank you for your time. Have a good day.