Astrology Could be the Theme of at Least one of Your 2020 Downloads
Astrology related applications became more popular in 2019. So much venture capital has been invested into the industry that it could now be worth $2 billion.
Ben Vickers and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, CTO and artistic director, respectively of the Serpentine Galleries, London, write that “tech-mysticism” exploded in 2019. And, it’s predicted that a confluence of technology and spirituality will see practices emerge around a new term “algo-seance.” Google Research’s Artists and Machine Intelligence programme lead Kenric McDowell explains:
“The algo-seance is the evocation of spirit contact through technological production, which is really our materialist, technologised civilisational impulse to find consciousness everywhere.”
This new, yet to be defined space, is seeing technologists, artists, and psychics working together to develop new techniques purported to predict the future. Artificial intelligence (AI) also has a part to play as it can use massive silos of data, big data, to create models and predict future events, potentially with some accuracy.
Throughout the ages science and technology has intertwined with spirituality. In 2018 researchers Keiran Browne and Ben Swift from the Australian National University’s Research School of Computer Science posed that superstitions are comparable to “cultural and scientific understandings of neural networks.”
Vickers and Obrist expect a “third psychedelic age” to take shape that sees an overlap between emerging technologies and more traditional spiritual practices. They write:
“An increasing number of people are returning to these ancient systems of knowledge through the reflective surface of their smartphones. In 2020, algo-seance and mystical technologies will continue to thrive.”Vickers and Obrist
Earlier this year, the New York Times reported on the amount of venture capital being invested into astrology applications. Apps which are becoming more successful focusing on offering millennial-targeted products and campaigns, like free horoscopes but also paid add-ons like personal consultations, birth charts, and personality readings.
Co-Star, the company behind a popular iOS astrology application raised $5.2 million in seed funding, following a pre-seed round of $750,000 in investment. It planned to use the money to build an Android version of the application and “build features that encourage new ways to get closer, new ways to take care of ourselves, and new ways to grow,” as per TechCrunch. Co-Star CEO Banu Guler says that “interest in astrology is skyrocketing.” He adds:
“There are people out there who think astrology is silly or unserious. But in our experience, the number of people who find value and meaning in astrology is far greater than the number of people who are turned off by it.”Co-Star CEO Banu Guler
Mashable reports that although astrology apps are seeing greater popularity many users aren’t paying for them, yet. Though in July 2019 consumers did spend $5.3 million on the top 10 most successful horoscope applications, as per Sensor Tower. In comparison, mediation apps, reportedly generated $30 million in revenue over a three-month period in 2018.
Alongside Co-Star there have been a number of new astrology applications launched this year that are still building their user base and converting paid users. Sanctuary raised $1.5 million from investors and launched in January 2019, it offers paid live chats with astrologers.
If astrology is not for you personally, it’s certainly a growing space to watch in 2020.