Inquiry Machine

Built to simulate and quantify the fraught process of uncovering new ideas, Inquiry Machine is a web crawler and autonomously-curated collection of texts on the topic of labor. Visitors were invited to sift through a growing collection of printed literature and images and learn what machines think about work — or at least, what machines think humans think.

Situated in a repurposed office space during Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Public Square, two printers and an assortment of cloud-based ‘worker processes’ labored to collect information about collectives, organizing, economics and other topics usually left to human workers to research.

Imagining a world not far our own, where machines compete with humans not only in industrial vocations but in the emotional and intellectual workforce, Inquiry Machine is an exploration of what is — and isn’t — visible to machines.

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