This week, I was inspired by Kate Crawford’s article “Asking The Oracle” about the intentions of the supplicant and the outcomes from Delphi, that also draws an analogy to the searching queries and Snowden’s database:
Over time, I’ve come to think of it as a contemporary experience of the Delphic Oracle: you ask something and receive cryptic information that may offer you some answers, but only by raising more questions.
Then I thought of my personal “fortune telling” ritual when having an eager to achieve something but not sure whether I would succeed or not. I remember shortly after applying for ITP, I was excited and anxious to know if I could get accepted, and by that time I was also working out. So when I was trying planking exercise, I would say to myself like, “If you can hold on for two minutes, then you could get accepted by ITP, otherwise not.” Then I would do my best in that exercise in order to make my wish come true.
I found this fortune telling routine quite interesting since the original question I asked led to another question, which is somehow kind of connected to the situation I had at that time, and it is really similar to the opinions that Kate Crawford has in her article. In the same example, testing workout limits in some way predicts the perseverance one has, which might also relates to how much effort one can put into some task.
So I came up with an idea of inventing my oracle “deck” by this ask and test procedure. The computer program is the reader, and the querent comes by asking one yes or no question. By matching with keywords, the computer throws a related task for the querent to accomplish, if the person passes the test, then the answer is yes. The task has to show the potential related with querent’s wish, and thus provides a positive feedback or cycle throughout the whole wish-achieving procedure. The difficulties with throwing tasks is similar to Kate’s opinion too:
A Pledge, and Ruin Is Near. Translations of this phrase vary, but it means something like “When you consult the gods, do not make vows and commitments that you cannot honor.” The Greeks used this as a warning against making promises that would come back to haunt you.
I might dig into finding a proper database or API with keyword matching in order to calculate the best tasks for the querent.