Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico



MERCY, by Cari Hyde-Vaamonde, PhD Candidate in The Dickson Poon School of Law and Vivienne Griffin, Somerset House Studios Resident, explores the role of AI and algorithms in judicial systems. 

VG1.780Image: The Fake Haven, 2021, Vivienne Griffin, Digital video, sound, 16:30 (still)

The visually enticing video game MERCY sets out to explore the role of AI and algorithms in judicial systems in a period when moves to implement algorithms have been accelerated by the pandemic as courts struggle with demand.

In 2020, a distressed defendant’s sobs were simply ‘muted’ in an online hearing by a UK judge, while in Singapore a man was sentenced to death over a Zoom call (Gibbs 2020; Ratcliffe, 2020). It is inherently difficult to imagine this future, impacted by something that seems so alien.

The game will use Cari’s research with a visual language from Vivienne's practice to look at how algorithms work, ethical dilemmas in introducing them into courts of law, and how this affects the individual. The player will be led down many paths, mimicking a branch-and-bound algorithm, whilst further visual elements will outline the research. At the end of the game the player will receive a sentence. The content will be revealed in the end when the player gets a sentence. The title MERCY alludes to the lack thereof when machines are making the decisions in court rooms.

The underpinning research for this project is interdisciplinary, bridging legal theory and practice, social science techniques, public policy, psychology, computer science and mathematics. The conceptual nature of the output means its relevance is not limited to geographical areas or jurisdictions and will have resonance across borders.  

Project team

Cari Hyde-Vaamonde first studied Law at King’s College London and, following a scholarship from the Inner Temple Society, was called to the Bar. After practising as a lawyer in diverse fields including technology, and specialising in court advocacy, they became increasingly interested in systematic analysis and research. Following the award of a UKRI 4-year LISS Studentship for doctoral research into the impacts of AI in justice settings, they undertook a Masters of Research in Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London, winning the Marc Lane-Martine Prize for best dissertation in politics as well as the cross-faculty Drapers' Company Prize for the highest overall grade in a Masters degree. Most recently presenting research at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL 2021), Cari Hyde-Vaamonde is a PhD candidate at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London. 

Born in Dublin and living in London, Vivienne Griffin studied fine art at City University New York supported by a Fulbright Scholarship. Griffin is a recent recipient of an Oram Award, named after legendary producer Daphne Oram, the award celebrates innovation in sound and music. Most recent exhibitions are Manchester International Festival 2021,  the AGM in Somerset House at St Mary le Strand 2021, for Montez Press Radio in NYC. Griffin is a PhD candidate at Queen's University Belfast at the Sonic Arts Research Centre. Vivienne is represented by Bureau, NYC. 

Stay in touch

Email the Culture team

Sign up to the newsletter

Faculties and departments