As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I may have gone off-roading a little bit in this assignment but perhaps there’s enough connection to make it valid? Hopefully…
The most fascinating part of tarot to me is the relationship between the reader and the recipient. I think that the quick bond and trust that’s developed is amazing.
In my Prototyping the Margins class, I’ve been doing some research as to the deep relationships that people form with chat bots or computer based systems. I want to know the experiential difference between “fake” and “real” relationships formed through our digital devices.
So, I started doing tarot readings via text message. I spent a lot of time discussing how the experience changed from the in-person experience. People really enjoyed the ways in which they could come back to return to the texts throughout the week to remind themselves about the “wisdom” of the reading. They also felt a surprising connection to me, the reader, as though we were in the room together.
From the ten conversations I had, the main difference between the in-person reading and a text reading was the level of personal connection. Since the recipient experienced the information in a solo manner, many referenced an experience of higher intimacy with the information. It felt truer because of the fact that they were processing it on their own.
I then told those same people that I was going to change my methods and do another text tarot reading…
Then I made a text bot with Chat Bot and Twilio that could conduct a simple reading while sending additional resources like gifs and images to solidify the “meaning” of key words in the reading.
I had this bot perform a tarot reading on my friends. Now this is where things get fuzzy. I wish I had some dynamic findings from the activity, haha. I was hoping for some kind of fascinating results but all the responses really varied. Some people applauded “me” (secretly, my algorithm) for the multi-faceted way that this reading tried to convey the information from the cards.