Flat Eye presents a possible future which may be neither desirable nor avoidable.

To create this world and make it credible, MONKEY MOON took inspiration from the present. There is no lack of sources: online articles, social media videos, scientific journals and more. On the team's private chat, one observation came up again and again: ""when reality goes beyond fiction."" Things that may seem a long way off or even impossible in the game may in fact have already happened, and some of the game's narrative threads were directly inspired by these true stories.
As archivist for the project, my mission, toward the end of the development process, was to gather all of these articles to create this coherent bibliography. It provides a closer look at what inspired Flat Eye, of course, but also at our present--a time of such rapid, constant change that we don't even realize it's happening anymore.
The goal of this snapshot of the world is to place Flat Eye's major themes (artificial intelligence, the future of work, social change, etc.) in their context. The bibliography sorts articles into several different categories (with frequent overlaps) and provides a summary for each. If you're only after the links and references, you'll find it all at the bottom of the page.

September 2022. The archivist.

The Covid-19 pandemic fell right in the middle of Flat Eye's development. Huge numbers of people were on lockdown around the globe. Certain professions became intimately acquainted with teleworking--its joys and hassles. Home delivery services became incredibly popular in urban areas. The use of AI created an increasing need for metadata and the "click workers" who compile them. At the same time, more and more workers began taking orders from software for everyday tasks. The world of work is changing, and human interactions are changing with it.

Deliveroo is using an algorithm called 'Frank' to cut food delivery times by 20%

Published on July 26 2017

Seen by Flat Eye team on December 23 2019

{Content in English}

To optimize delivery routes, Deliveroo developed an algorithm that monitors its 10,000 restaurants and 15,000 delivery people in the UK and suggests ways to allocate them more efficiently without any human input. For unspecified reasons, the program that oversees all these humans is named Frank.


Horror Stories From Inside Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Published on January 28 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on January 28 2020

{Content in English}

Artificial Intelligence is underpinned by tedious "Human Intelligence" micro-tasks, like meticulously describing elements from a data set. Mechanical Turk is Amazon's platform where gig workers can perform these tasks for tiny sums. Several surveys of MTurk workers allege excessively low rates or no payment as well as traumatic tasks, like describing disgusting content: images of decapitation, videos of botched surgeries, etc.


Mon boss est un algorithme

Published on October 15 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on April 08 2020

{Content in French}

This French podcast episode interviews two click workers: Julie and Nassim. Julie worked as a "microtasker" training Microsoft's AI, Cortana. She listened to conversations and corrected mistakes. Nassim was a Deliveroo deliverer whose hours and pay were determined by the company's algorithm.


Note from the archivist: One of the first articles shared by the team, and one of the first forum posts: "So Flat Eye".

Stocking clerk 🔜 telepresence 🤖

Published on August 29 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on August 30 2020

{Content in English}

In this video, a warehouse robot remote controlled by VR is tested in Japan.


Note from the archivist: Taken directly from the Monkey Moon discussion forum: "Robots remote controlled by inmates or gig workers--the possibilities are infinite. And it would be perfect for a robot storyline, which alone makes it worth a read."

You can now practice firing someone in virtual reality

Published on August 09 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on October 17 2020

{Content in English}

Start-up Talespin, which sells VR learning software, invites human resources managers to practice firing employees with Barry. Barry isn't a human--he's a virtual senior you can fire again and again despite his virtual tears.


Note from the archivist: Talespin no longer showcases Barry on its website. The company hasn't changed the focus of its business but now markets it as "learning in the metaverse".

Une « Kabin » pour télétravailler au Monop’

Published on March 03 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on March 05 2021

{Content in French}

Start-up Kabin set up a teleworking booth in a Parisian supermarket. Using a dedicated app you can rent the "Kabin" for five euros an hour. It can accommodate up to four people and comes with WiFi and sound insulation.


Note from the archivist: A few reactions from the Monkey Moon forum: "It seriously seems like by the time Flat Eye is out, all of the dystopian ideas from the game will have become reality." "We're geniuses, that's the only explanation. It looks like the cloning booth to me." "We can make it a serious game sponsored by the government and make a ton of money: adapt to the current job market with Flat Eye."

This is Project Starline. Years in the making, it works like a magic window, bringing you together with friends, family, and coworkers, even when you're cities (or countries) apart.

Published on May 18 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on May 18 2021

{Content in English}

Google is working on Project Starline, a "magic window" that makes videoconferencing more concrete and gives it more depth. Starline's hardware currently takes up a lot of space, however, and Google has yet to announce a public release date.


Amazon is using algorithms with little human intervention to fire Flex workers

Published on June 28 2021

Seen by Flat Eye team on June 29 2021

{Content in English}

Amazon has made it possible for volunteers to become occasional delivery people using their own vehicles via the Amazon Flex program, which is almost fully automated on the company's end: hiring, performance assessments and firing are all handled by software. Amazon employees hardly intervene at all in the process. The system does have its faults, though. Flex delivery people are sometimes fired by the software for silly reasons just a few minutes after receiving a new mission.


Yeah we have employee perks! / The perks:

Published on February 18 2022

Seen by Flat Eye team on February 18 2022

{Content in English}

A picture of a company break room posted on Twitter. The employer kindly provides expired cans of soda for employees.


Severance (trailer)

Published on February 18 2022

Seen by Flat Eye team on April 14 2022

{Content in English}

A company with sterile offices offers to insert a chip into employees' brains to completely separate their professional and personal lives. Severance is an Apple TV+ series that explores how two people living in the same body try to exist side by side.


Note from the archivist: Recommended on the Monkey Moon forum, with this comment: "The combination of hellish work conditions x shady technology x retro-future with CRT screens and alarm clocks for videoconferencing is super cool, but yet again it's the story of a huge corporation that does/makes... too many things, who knows what (food, electronics, big data, etc.). The employees don't know what they're doing either. Everything is strange."