Francis Tseng
(American, b. 1988)

Conspiracy Generator, 2017
Website and conspiracy-generating bot
Courtesy of the artist and The New Inquiry

Francis Tseng, screenshot of Conspiracy Generator, 2017.
Francis Tseng, screenshot of Conspiracy Generator, 2017.
Francis Tseng, screenshot of Conspiracy Generator, 2017.

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A common concern with artificial intelligence is the potential for computers to become smarter than humans. Artist and researcher Francis Tseng asks us to consider an equally troubling question: what if artificial intelligence is adopting and reinforcing our bad habits and personalities? Conspiracy Generator is an open-source code, demonstrated on this static website, that manufactures conspiracy theories. Playing with apophenia, the human tendency to find meaning in random patterns, Tseng's code connects disparate online sources, from Wikipedia to Google Images, using shallow similarities. These fabricated conspiracies draw attention to the ease with which algorithms can be used to manipulate real-world events and sway public opinion.

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