by Kate Moody | July 2023
‘Nobody’s Fault’ is an interactive story about the ethical decisions that data scientists have to make in the workplace. Created by Cornell University’s Lecturer in Data Ethics Liz Karns and BAFTA award-winning director Martin Percy, ‘Nobody’s Fault’ jumps into a fictional storyline of a workplace decision with mass impact years down the line. Users are given multiple choices that lead to different endings, depending on who they choose to side with.
Liz and Martin teamed up after being introduced by Kate Dimbleby, co-founder of Stornaway.io. Their work together allowed for data science and filmmaking to join forces to create an educational dilemma for Liz’s students at Cornell University, although the interactive experience is open for anyone to play.
Building the story
Liz initially thought about making it in VR – but it was too hard to do, even with all the resources of Cornell. Then she found Stornaway and realised she could make an interactive film with the immersive emotional impact she wanted, but make it much more easily – and share in a much more accessible web-based interactive film format.
As a lecturer in Statistics and Data Science, Liz said she wanted assistance as a newcomer to the field of filmmaking. With the help of Stornaway.io and Martin, Liz built a story map, allowing her to better visualise her story and its different branching narratives. She then collaborated with Martin, who acted as a remote director on the shoot, to help shape and create her film, and ensure she got what she needed.
When her students played through the film, she was able to gather feedback on their engagement. They then went on to make Stornaway projects of their own.
“From an instructor’s point of view Stornaway worked very well. I gave written instructions once and they started projects or outlines and adding to them each week. No special training or class time was needed for technical assistance.”
The website for Nobody’s Fault allows viewers to feedback to Liz about their experience, allowing data to be collected about participant’s experiences. This has meant that the piece has fed back in to more ethical data research.
Using Stornaway’s Features
Using Stornaway’s intuitive drag and drop editor, Liz easily dropped her finished footage into her story map. This also allowed her to make real-time edits to her interactive story and work collaboratively with Martin Percy.
Liz also used Stornaway’s Either/Or features, allowing users to view different things depending on what a viewer has already watched.
Find more about our either/or game logic here
Liz’s film helped to expand the learning of her data science students at Cornell. When faced with an actual real-life scenario with feasible consequences, though it was a narrative piece, students became more thoughtful about the outcomes of their decisions, sparking great in-class conversations.
In making an interactive film with Stornaway, she has created an experience where you get to be in the room when really difficult marginal decisions are being made about data that will impact real people’s lives. She found that not only was this experience having a really a lasting effect on her students, who were sitting forward relating to the people that they were making the decisions for, but the viewers’ brains went into different state – a more immersive state.
“Students reported to me that they could see the ethical problem and choice consequences more clearly in the island form than typical outlines. From the education standpoint this is a big win.
The students (48) were a mix of undergraduates and graduates and came from non-art or humanities backgrounds. Most were in data science programs and a few from labor relations. They described this as one of the most fun and creative projects that they have done during their education.”
Create Your Own
Stornaway offers lots of different plans depending on what you’d like to create- from out free plan, all the way to our academic & enterprise accounts. Learn more about pricing here!
Want to create something similar to Liz Karns and Martin Percy? Find more about their process from our June 2023 Academic Summit.
Or learn more about how to make a similar project to ‘Nobody’s Fault’ on our Scenario Based Training page.