Control questions (so the software can calibrate the subject’s voice):
Deyan Sudjic Where do you live?
Justin McGuirk Between Shoreditch and Angel.
DS How did you get here this morning?
JM I came on the Tube.
DS Was it a stressful or an easy journey?
JM It was not as easy as it should have been but it wasn’t too stressful.
DS So far you’re telling the truth… Were you expecting to become the editor of icon magazine?
JM No, it was a complete surprise. >> Excited/Truth
DS And did you do anything once you had been named acting editor [in 2006] to consolidate your position to become editor?
JM Thinking back I suppose I did what I could. But the most difficult thing is assembling the right team and that takes time, so for a while I just played with the cards I’d been dealt. >>Subject not sure/False statement
DS Are you optimistic about the future of the world at this particular moment?
JM I think the world is constantly getting worse and getting better at the same time. So I’m both optimistic and pessimistic because some things will inevitably decline and other things will inevitably improve. >> Truth
DS Do you find it difficult making decisions about how to organise the magazine’s content?
JM Sometimes, yes, because you don’t always have the perfect conditions in which to create the thing you want to create – sometimes pragmatism plays more of a part than idealism. It would be nice to have more control but then playing with the more spontaneous, unexpected things is fun. >> Excited/Truth
DS What is the most difficult thing you have had to do as an editor?
JM Make two people redundant. >> Truth
DS That’s an easy answer isn’t it? Do you prefer to stay in the office or go out and meet people?
JM I don’t go out and meet people as much as I should, so I’d like to do it more. >> Subject not sure
DS Do you think you are the embodiment of icon?
JM No. I think … it’s an interesting question. I’m just leading it the way I think it needs to be lead but I don’t think its entire spirit comes just from me. >> Stressed/Subject not sure
DS What makes you anxious about your job?
JM Deadlines. And making sure the magazine’s good enough. Picking covers. >> Excited/Inaccuracy
DS Looking back on your career as a journalist and an editor is there anything that you shouldn’t have done?
JM Plenty, I’m sure. But I don’t have any specific regrets. I’m sure there are things I could have done better. >> Subject not sure
DS Thank you. [Looking at the results] It says “the subjects’s not sure”.
JM Hmm, I lied a bit apparently too. And “the subject was stressed in some parts of the conversation”. It’s funny, when I tried this out last night, the graph was all over the place. It thought I was lying and stressed, and it was just questions about the weather. So I think you’ve got a certain intonation that the machine likes, and I don’t. Certainly hesitation makes it run riot.
DS I think humans understand hesitation in a different way, don’t they? But it’s a terrible, astonishing machine. It’s like the Delphic oracle but translated through one of those translation programmes. But ours was a cooperative conversation wasn’t it? When you were questioning me, I was responding to it as an interview.
JM Yeah, I wasn’t being very aggressive. Maybe I should have been.