WHAT: “Trish,” the washing machine-looking artificially intelligent spokesperson for Soylent.
WHO: Soylent, Wieden + Kennedy’s The Lodge
WHY WE CARE: Soylent staked its ground in “this product is kind of creepy” territory from the moment they named their nutritional meal-replacement “soylent,” after the 1973 horror-thriller Soylent Green. That film starred Charlton Heston as he attempted to discover what the processed meal replacement that people consumed was made of (spoiler: Soylent Green is people!!), which is not context you can avoid when discussing the product that bears its name.
However, if that alone isn’t creepy enough for you, worry not: Now Soylent has teamed with agency Wieden+Kennedy to launch “Trish,” an AI-powered spokesperson, who joins the company’s sci-fi dystopian messaging like “Food That Frees You,” and an eerily sterile design. According to press materials, Trish “is rational, cares about humans, knows a ton about nutrition, and above all else–is helpful.” Certainly, “cares about humans” is high on the list of things that humans should look for in an AI buddy (it beats the alternative, anyway). And having a robot pal who can help customers aspiring not to eat actual meals with figuring out what to do with their tubes and/or powdered bags of sort-of food, how much to eat, what flavors they might enjoy, and more. If getting those answers from an AI bot that looks like a washing machine appeals to you, congratulations! You are definitely in Soylent’s target demographic.