When we talk about “predictions made by artificial intelligence (AI)”, we may think about practical insights extracted by AI-powered software after processing and analyzing data.
But what if we brought all this “prediction” mojo to the next level – as in actually predicting the future like a fortune teller? Can we expect AI to be better than humans in this kind of feat as well?
It may depend on how you define prediction: is it using predictive modeling to draw a tentative conclusion about a trend – or offering you wish fulfillment about meeting your one true love on some distant day?
Whether you think predicting the future is possible through psychic or ghostly intervention, or only achievable by predictive analysis, or left to the realm of a two-bit Friday night magic act, it turns out AI may well be in the room with you.
Are you ready to dive into the absurd, unlock the door with the key of imagination (cue the Twilight Zone intro) and move into the land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas?
Without further ado, let’s cross over into the Twilight Zone of AI divination.
Data-driven Clairvoyance Is Actually a Thing
Of all the phrases I thought I’d write today, I didn’t predict “data-driven clairvoyance.” But it’s a thing. Farewell to the days when AI was used for noble and vital purposes, such as saving lives by improving health care or enhancing the efficiency of power plants.
We know how good AI is at identifying patterns and trends, so someone thought: “Why don’t we use it for divining the unknown, with, like clairvoyance?”
Thing is, AI-powered fortune tellers can be better than human mentalists at forecasting events since they can extract their “wisdom” from a much larger database of information.
If they can avoid the trap of data bias, they could be better than humans at discovering what lies ahead by reading tarots, at least in theory.
(That holds true if you assume that human diviners really need to research, well… tangible information, cross-check practical data to make their predictions, and grant that they are not conjuring their “predictions” out of thin air.)
In any case, most of these oracle-AIs are as advanced and cutting-edge as you could expect from a top-notch business AI used for industrial purposes.
The Turkish Faladdin app (you have to commend the creators for the name) combines the coffee cup photos you send in, along with other information you choose to share, to present customized astrology readings – generating readings written by 30 experts, including a dramatist and a psychologist.
It has nearly 20 million downloads, so it is definitely finding success in the automated fortune-telling market (if you define success as “making money”).
If tarot cards and coffee cup reading are not your thing, maybe astrology is where to turn your gaze.
The horoscope maker Co-Star is evolving the field – so advanced that it uses data coming from NASA observations, combines them with professional astrologers’ techniques, and then proclaims its predictions.
If you are open to the idea that stars can influence our lives, then it’s much more convincing when you can measure a star to the nearest light year.
It’s working for Co-Star, with the owners of this app raising $5 million in funding so far and with even the new Doctor of Doctor Who checking the app each day.
So once again, it seems that science and pseudo-science work even better when they’re paired.
The Strange Cases of People Thinking AI Tells Fortunes When It Actually Doesn’t
Shuffling packs of cards, reading coffee cups, throwing sticks into a fire, watching the direction a flock of birds fly in … These ways of telling the future are so 1800s.
And while the tone of this article may be somewhat suspicious of telling the future, there’s a nub of superstition in most of us that flares up when we see a shooting star, randomly see an ex-partner’s name when we’re thinking of them, or hear a song on the radio just after we were humming it.
So much more fun — maybe not so useful, but not a surprising outcome — to find a growing trend in people finding their direction in life in the random or personalized recommendations of something like… which video TikTok offers up next.
It turns out that even when AI is doing nothing but its primary job – ranging from generating random content to editing existing photos with filters – Tik Tok users are now using these “choices” as a form of divination.
For example, when a generative AI edits your companion out from a certain number of pictures, this could be seen as a sign your relationship is doomed. Or using Tik Tok AI filters to bring tarot cards to life to choose your next step.
If it’s a rabbit hole you insist on going down, choose your favorite social network and scout around #AIOracle #AIVibes #AIGhosts #AITrend or #AIFilters.
If not, feel free to check out 150 stats about artificial intelligence for a more down-to-earth take.
When Weird Things Become So Bizarre, They Become Rational Again
When things don’t go as planned, try to remember that everything happens for a reason. If this sounds like a message you can find in a fortune cookie, it’s because it is.
It’s not so hard to write down these kind of sentences, but artist and roboticist Alexander Reben thought about outsourcing the process and letting an AI do it for us.
Which absolutely makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, and what nobody at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could expect, was that this AI eventually evolved into a philosopher.
What nobody can deny is that those messages were actually quite… thought-provoking, even if quite dark and gloomy at times. Sometimes, it even goes as far as to produce something we might consider a call for help:
— Alexander Reben (@artBoffin) August 25, 2018
Don’t worry, Fortune Cookie AI, you’re getting all the attention you deserve, you got my word.
I don’t want to jinx any of these AI-powered fortune tellers and oracle apps – far be it from me to criticize anyone who turns the human desire for positive reinforcement into a way to make money.
But before closing, I could not mention the best mechanical diviner I’ve found so far on my personal quest for inner peace.
A fantastic old-school, retro-style fortune-telling arcade machine running on “a Raspberry Pi, using a custom GameBoy ROM as a display, calling ChatGPT for predictions in the style of Dr. Seuss, and printing via thermal printer“.
The only thing missing is an animatronic talking head to haunt your nightmares with its mechanical utterances.