It's funny; David Cronenberg drapes his pitch for his fictional "Personal On-Demand recommendation engine"—a spleen-shaped chunk of invasive nanotechnology that promises to merge mind and machine—in the same language as a vapid TechCrunch Disrupt emcee. But he sells it with the grim-faced earnestness and unsettling cinematographic tendencies you'd find in his early film work. Probably why the satire works so well.
Cronenberg's POD project is a multimedia collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Centre rolled out as a semi-hoax. The details are over at Body/Mind/Change, the fictional 'lab' ostensibly building the POD:
MEET POD (PERSONAL ON-DEMAND), THE ULTIMATE RECOMMENDATION ENGINE. POD IS AN EMOTIONAL SENSORY LEARNING AND DATA-MINING ORGANISM DESIGNED TO ENHANCE YOUR LIFE. THIS STATE OF THE ART BIOTECH IMPLANT WILL GUARANTEE YOU PERSONALIZED RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ARE 99.999% RELEVANT ALL THE TIME. POD GROWS WITH YOU TO BECOME AN INTUITIVE COMPANION, FULFILLING YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES ON DEMAND.
Along with the web 2.0-meets-human-plus verbiage, there are a host of good visuals, like this one, which appends Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to accommodate the POD, and skewers our cultural moment's hero worship of technology:
There's also faintly amusing faux profile (fauxfile?) over at Filmmaker Magazine, for those looking for more fictional details about the fictional project.
But all of this should seem familiar by now, anyway.
You've got to appreciate how deeply meta this thing gets. This is from the press release:
In Body/Mind/Change, Cronenberg partners with BMC Labs, a fictional biotech firm, to develop biotech enhancement implants inspired by the intellectual property found in his films, such as Scanners, Videodrome and eXistenZ. Cronenberg is the first participant in the project. At launch on October 25, registered participants will be guided through an episodic interactive narrative that functions as a simulator for training their PODs. Completing this three-part experience will guarantee them a unique POD generated from their behaviour during the simulations.
Sounds about right; if Cronenberg is doing an art exhibit in the flesh, we should expect nothing less. I've already reserved my POD—I'll sure as hell be heading to Canada and filing an update if I hear back.