The Future of Astrological Computing
by Hank Friedman
This article is completely speculative. It is not based upon any knowledge of what companies are working on, but only a set of guesses about what is possible and might happen.
1. Adding true artificial intelligence to the generation of interpretive reports.
The main problem with interpretations produced by computers is that there is no synthesis, no blending of factors. Reports take at most one or two astrological factors and spit out pre-written paragraphs on them.
A professional astrologer, on the other hand, takes the whole chart into account and sees when one part of the chart will nullify or amplify the qualities of another part of the chart.
For example, the Ascendant controls the expression of the planets in the chart to a large degree, so a person with Scorpio rising will express the planets in their chart occupying Water or Earth signs more easily and fully than planets in Fire or Air signs. Thus far, no astrology program takes this into account.
Additionally, some factors can "antidote" or "trump" other factors. In Vedic astrology, the reversal of debilitation is a good example; in Western astrology, a strong Saturn presence in what would otherwise be a Jupiterian chart reflects this principle.
Therefore, future software will do much more analysis. It will have conditional statements and only print sections if the whole chart supports them. And eventually it may be able to combine themes and generate new paragraphs by itself.
I doubt computer-generated reports can ever come close to the quality of the work of a professional astrologer, but they can certainly advance over the present state:
where many paragraphs contradict previous ones, and the reports don't take important factors into account.
[Important Note: The best-written interpretive software actually does an excellent job of delineating individual chart factors, especially when one considers that no synthesis is going on.]
2. Synthesizing (and synergizing) predictive methods.
In natal work, Isabel Hickey -- among many other astrologers -- reinforced the notion of using the "rule of three". If three or more different factors in a chart indicate the same theme, than that theme is likely to manifest in the person's life.
In predictive work, this concept can also be applied. E.g. if a likely event shows up in the natal chart, progressed chart, and current transits; or in Vedic astrology if it shows up in the natal chart, divisional chart, and current dasha and bhukti, then the event is more likely to occur.
One central principle of astrology is that if the natal chart does not support the likelihood of an event happening, no transits or dasas can make it happen.
Astrology software in the future may be able to analyze charts in these ways. They might start by examining the potentials for events in the birth chart, and then only predict the events, and the scale of them (e.g. big money or a small raise) based upon the birth chart analysis.
I have coined the term "conditional transits" as a way of describing my desire to have software display a transit or a progressed aspect only if it is reinforced by other transits, or progressions, or dasas, or a combination of these (as well as, of course, by configuration of the natal chart).
I don't know how advanced software can get in this regard, but certainly further than it is today: where the predictions are not based on actual birth chart potentials, nor any other astrological events, at all. Everyone now gets the same delineation for each transit, regardless of their birth chart or other transits.
3. Unifying astrologies.
I may be one of the few astrologers who uses the term "astrologies". But I am passionate about both Modern Western and Classical Vedic astrologies, and have great respect for the astrological method of Morin, and am eager to study books written clearly about medieval and ancient Greek astrologies when they become available.
Future software hopefully will not only offer extensive features for these five schools of astrology and others (Aztec, Chinese, Tibetan, etc.) but also enable the astrologer to flexibly blend them, e.g. a display of a timeline that includes Western and Vedic and Chinese and Medieval predictive techniques.
4. Teaching astrology.
It is difficult to learn Western astrology by oneself, and almost impossible to learn Vedic astrology without a teacher. If astrology software programmers could develop smarter and more interactive tutorials in software, they might be useful to those studying astrology.
I can anticipate the development of visual and auditory presentations of actual chart interpretations, with narration on why conclusions are made, and other multi-media displays of specific principles operating in the charts of famous people.
The research tools now available to astrologers are already incredibly powerful, and I'm sure most astrologers have not "scratched the surface" of the research capabilities of programs they own.
Nevertheless, I'd like to see more 3-D graphing and other visual displays of astrology data (e.g. the breakdown of Nobel Prize winners by Nakshatra and Rising Sign), easier-to-use research tools, and automatic analysis of statistical significance.
I would love to see a full implementation of the research capabilities of the Matrix program M-65C that used to run on Apple II computers. It gave astrologers the ability to create searches using methods that are still not available in present software today. You could specify sets of planets to include in a search, add mathematical conditions to fulfill, combine conditions to search for, and much more.
I am not an astrologer who believes that it is possible to "prove astrology". For one, no chart is the same as another chart, and examining factors in isolation cannot replace examining the whole chart. Nevertheless, I'm also not saying that research is useless, just limited in its scope. I myself love analyzing charts for specific configurations, in order to learn more about them.
All of this said, I will reiterate that astrology is a magical art. A truly effective chart reading requires pattern recognition, counseling skills, empathy, creativity, and spiritual alignment. Software will never come close to what a person can do, but it can certainly improve a great deal.
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