In the 21st Century BC, Nebo was the Babylonian God of wisdom and writing. He determined the lives of every human being by writing their story on to sacred clay tablets, and thus was responsible for the ultimate fate of mankind.

Now in the 21st Century AD, Nebo has been resurrected in a new guise, to free each of us from false choices and false aspirations. Together with Nebo, we will determine our own fate once again.

Nebo is an online service and range of objects that employ some of the techniques of marketers and advertisers not to make you buy things, but to make you lead a more fulfilling and happier life. Nebo is advertising that influences you to act in your own best interests.

Nebo will come to know you better than you know yourself.

This project is a ‘tech start up from the near future’. It was progressed while I was one of the Design Museum’s Designers In Residence 2013.

Graphics: Ilona Gaynor


Object # 1, Gateway Router

You begin with Nebo by receiving the Gateway in to your home. It is a computer and wireless router, that ‘over powers’ existing wireless internet connections, becoming the gateway through which the devices in your home connect to the internet. When they connect to the Gateway, Nebo will install itself on to all your households’ computers, tablets and smartphones. In the beginning it’ll just track your patterns and habits, observing what you read, buy, and watch online, where you go and what you do with your phone, as well as gathering login details for the various online services you use. After around four weeks you will start to notice changes in what influences you’re exposed to.

Photograph: Daniel Alexander

Object # 2, TV Controller

Nebo Object # 2 plugs in to your television. It knows what influences you’re currently seeing, and will intervene as necessary. It will change the meaning conveyed by adverts, show you content you need to see and occlude content that is of no benefit to you.

Photograph: Daniel Alexander

Object # 3, Purse Strings

‘You are what you buy’, so you and Nebo will change what you can buy, when, and where by taking control of your cash and cards. This wallet will influence what you buy, and even won’t let you spend money on certain things, at certain times at certain places.

Photograph: Luke Hayes

Object # 4, Resoled Shoes

Depending on the changes you and Nebo need to make, you may be required to send us a pair of boots for resoling. We’ll send them back with a GPS tracker and Nebo embedded in the new soles. You’ll be set destinations to wear them to and Nebo will know if you get there.

Photograph: Daniel Alexander

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