Visualizing Occult Algorithms: Divination, Predictive Systems and Artificial Intelligence in Contemporary Art
In contemporary society, machine learning is used to make predictions about likely outcomes based on the processing of a large amounts of collected data from users. It is a core technology in artificial intelligence and has offered many promises of improving tasks across many fields such as marketing, fraud detection, healthcare, and government operations. Nevertheless, the architecture behind its algorithms remains hidden from the final user, causing anxiety and fear of their unseen powers and their possible negative consequences for society. The two artistic performances studied in this research show how contemporary artists combine images, methods and practices from divinatory occult practices to inspect the hidden mechanisms of artificial intelligence-driven devices in an attempt to understand their powers and reveal their negative outcomes, at the same time making them approachable in their use as inputs for the construction of a better-informed future.
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