Random (enough)

When you are having your future forecast, how do you feel about an animate versus inanimate forecaster? Is it more reassuring to have a living, breathing agent in charge of your fate/destiny/college acceptance/promotion than, say, a computer? Is it a binary divide between “animate” and “inanimate” or are there shades of gray? Is it more reliable/accurate to have your fortune told by someone you can communicate with and with whom you must necessarily interact and play a role in determining your fortune – such as the bicycle-based mobile fortune-teller (with his colorfully decorated steed) from Myanmar? Or is it more accurate to have an animate-yet-completely-unbiased and non-invested party foretell your future – such as this bird (parakeet?) trained to select customer’s fortune card from a box (bonus bit of repurposing – note the recycled cardboard beverage box upon which the fortune cards are balanced)? Would you sacrifice “randomness” for tactility – being able to view, touch, interact with the forecasting process? Is a random number generator choosing between 0 and 1 is “less random” than flipping a coin? When chance is removed from the realm of the tangible, analogue and visible, how does that change it?

Note: The bicycle-based tarot expert employed an intriguing pricing scheme for a fortune teller, “Pay whatever you want.” How does a good reading versus a bad one affect the amount received? I happened to receive a good reading despite drawing some ominous looking cards – perhaps in the interest of profitability there are no bad readings?

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