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.

To fight the coronavirus China is undertaking its biggest experiment yet in rule by data: an app that automates quarantines. Alibaba software, using unexplained data, now decides whether millions can leave their home. It also shares data with the police.

Published on March 01 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on March 03 2020

{Content in English}

As the Covid-19 pandemic was just getting started outside of China, the New York Times explored how China was assigning color-coded QR codes (green, yellow, red) to its citizens depending on their health status: quarantined or not. After analyzing the application's code, NYT reports that it does more than indicate whether a person poses a contamination risk: it also transfers data to the police. The app used is the popular AliPay wallet application. Many countries later adopted (black-and-white) QR codes on dedicated smartphone apps as the preferred means to signal vaccination or medical status during the pandemic.


Note from the archivist: "I think that after this project my anxiety levels will be so high that I'll go raise goats in the mountains," says a generally upbeat developer on the Monkey Moon forum.

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".

Fooling Facial Detection with Fashion

Published on June 04 2019

Seen by Flat Eye team on April 29 2020

{Content in English}

To fool facial recognition software integrated into videosurveillance systems, this blog article presents histogram designs which can be printed on masks.


Note from the archivist: This article was written in 2019, before Covid-19 made public masking so widespread.

Never Gonna Give You Up, but an AI attempts to continuously generate more of the song - YouTube

Published on April 30 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on May 13 2020

{Content in English}

The Jukebox tool by OpenAI is used to extrapolate the song "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley from the refrain alone. Results vary.


British Cops Want to Use AI to Spot Porn—But It Keeps Mistaking Desert Pics for Nudes

Published on December 18 2017

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 12 2020

{Content in English}

The London police hoped that machine learning would help them to detect child pornography images on the Internet. The system has been a disappointment, sometimes mistaking images of the desert for naked bodies.


How I hacked modern Vending Machines

Published on October 10 2018

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 21 2020

{Content in English}

Vending machines are sometimes equipped with software to manage user accounts. A hacker explains how he hacked his university's vending machines by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the code to access unlimited funds. He then alerted the supplier.


AI bias in action

Published on July 28 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 29 2020

{Content in English}

A quick video demonstration of AI bias: a name is entered and identified by the algorithm as female. When the title "Dr." is added to the same name, the AI labels it as masculine.


Note from the archivist: The tool has since been shut down.

Dollars for data

Published on July 21 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on July 30 2020

{Content in English}

In this episode of the podcast FlashForward, repentant data broker Richie Etwaru explains his quest to make full ownership of personal data a basic human right.


Note from the archivist: "Fascinating and so in sync with the game's themes," says a developer on the Monkey Moon forum.

Comment Facebook utilise son datacenter pour chauffer la ville danoise d'Odense

Published on July 13 2020

Seen by Flat Eye team on August 24 2020

{Content in French}

Meta manages two data centers covering 50,000 square meters in Odense in the Netherlands. The heat they generate is supplied to a local urban heating network, which distributes it to heat homes in town.


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."