The Black Box Bellagio is an unusual casino that won't take your money, but is after your freedom, integrity and private data instead. Play with the (un)fairness of expected values and chances, predicted risks, and giving up your identity. Disclaimer: The house always seems to win.
At this event, players were about to play and find out which personal data there were willing to share with fellow players. During the game they had the opportunity to look at their personal data in an alternative way. Do people care about their privacy or about winning the game? How far will they go?
The casino let people play roulette, poker or blackjack.
Algorithms, information and uncertainty
It is a well-known fact that Facebook uses algorithms to track our behavior. But what these algorithms do is commonly unknown. This creates an untrustworthy situation towards information provided by these algorithms, think about information on food, technology, news, doctors or banking. Everything is false until proven otherwise.
One of the driving forces behind a gambling game is the uncertain state of 'simultaneously knowing and not-knowing'. With poker players risk their bet by judging the value of their cards over their opponents’ by trying to deduct clues from non factual elements when playing face to face. One tries to read the opponent's behavior and facial expressions, and assess whether they’re bluffing or not.
Proof is ‘found’ in subjective predictions — a mathematical game made human. This subjectivity is surprisingly similar to profiling risks and identities through online algorithms. Think of someone who googles nail polish, who is automatically considered female. Such elements of uncertainty, insecurity and overgeneralization are indispensable for the Black Box Bellagio.
Black Box Bellagio is has been developed by Roos Groothuizen, an Amsterdam-based designer and artist, who cares about digital rights. Black Box Bellagio has been realized in collaboration with Ymer Marinus.
Read this blog - Gambling with your Personal Data - by Hannah de Bruijn, who visited the Black Box Bellagio.
The Black Box Bellagio is organised as part of the project DECODE. Via the casino DECODE engaged a new group of people to increase awareness of the issues around personal data and data commons.
About ‘Manifesting Futures’
Black Box Bellagio is part of the series Manifesting Futures, a series of avant-garde club nights full of critical sounds, art and technology. In each edition we discover in an experimental future scenario of an artist, critical thinker or musicians.