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the algorithmic seer

a fortunetelling system that combines traditional divination and AI technology. It aims to discuss when people are seeking directions or ideas if they will fit themselves into the general assumptions by the fortuneteller even if it is random.

2023 personal project
interactive installation | artificial intelligence


“Should I go try it out?” “What is going on in my life?” “I need some help and direction.” When we walk by psychic and tarot card reading stores or booths on the streets, in carnivals, and in markets, we often are curious and have a slight urge to go and see what it is like. And with having most of the population using smart phones, online readings and apps are getting more accessible and affordable. So why do people want to get their ‘future read’ by complete strangers? And possibly trusting them with their secrets?

People care because they believe using divination can help them “look at possible outcomes, meanings, and paths” so that they have a sense of direction and “go deep into what they are bringing to a situation and decide what to do” ( It is a way for them to justify their life trajectory and obstacles when things are not going their way. “It’s like you can contact someone who’s looking out for you” (

“Astrology offers those in crisis the comfort of imagining a better future”
-- The Atlantic

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Through everything happening in the world today, no doubt it is getting hard and sometimes futile. In many’s eyes, ultimately our lives could be meaningless and lose hope with ourselves and the surroundings. Now, younger generations are turning to divination and fortune-telling as form of therapy. As mentioned, the involvement of technology has greatly aided the bloom. During and after the pandemic, “tarot readings have also shifted to the online and video-call realm” ( Through personal readings and general predictions on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and any other social media platforms, divination seeps into every crack of everyone’s lives. “For tarot alone, related hashtags on TikTok have received views from anywhere between 500 million to 6 billion... It’s unsurprising that so many millennials and Gen Zers... are exposed and turn to astrology and tarot as an answer to their problems” (

With these background information in mind, it is certain that there is a bloom in the divination (astrology, tarot carding reading, palm reading...) area both in real life and in media settings. However, there are many more forms to explore and discuss. Following will be some that I find related and are interesting. For example the inkblot test, where I believe is closely related to divination as one analyze an abstract idea/image to try to figure out what is happening. Followed with a few more different types of divination tests that are less common than the general tarot card reading, astrology, and more.

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What if we combined divination, as something more spiritual and ‘supernatural’, with more rigid and emotionless technology? Placing the causation of everything happening to be random, will people still have their answer they wished for? Will it change how the customer perceive their “future” by having a cold AI fortuneteller to be the one who announces their paths?

Research has shown, people use divination as a source of comfort to justify their actions and how their future proceeds.

This project wish to discuss what it means to “have your future told”, whether it substitutes as a placebo effect for ones who just need something to believe or a seems-to-be-professional person to vent to. And present it in a fun, interactive way where the user get their fortune told by randomized algorithm. Once the general prediction is told, it is on their end to decide if they choose to believe in or not. Since we know there is no “deeper meaning” behind each image, it would be interesting to see how the users will substitute their life and situation to fit into the predictions.

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“imagine you are a professional fortune teller” to Poe AI Chat

card designs

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ideations for possible setup layouts

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