The Superstitious Fund
by Shing Tat Chung

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

Royal College of Art graduate Shing Tat Chung has created a superstitious robot that trades on the stock market according to the lucky numbers it generates.

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

The Superstitious Fund project is a live experiment that will run for one year.

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

Starting with £4828.88 invested by 144 people in over 50 cities around the world, the robot will trade autonomously and show the results at any given time on a live display board.

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

The machine responds to algorithms based on lunar cycles, numerology and its own lucky or unlucky numbers.

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

Shing Tat Chung has just graduated from the Design Interactions course and the board is exhibited alongside a series of booklets on superstition at RCA Show 2012 until 1 July.

The Superstitious Fund by Shing Tat Chung

Watch a tour of the exhibition with Design Interactions course leader Tony Dunne here and see all our stories about the work on show here.

Photography is by Diego Trujillo.

Here's some more information from Shing Tat Chung:

Illogical Logic - a project about superstitions and irrationalities.

Many superstitions and irrationalities are often hidden or ignored in our society. The US economy, for instance, can lose up to $2.4 billion a year due fears of Friday 13th. Whilst in times of uncertainty, we become even more superstitious and irrational. So in a time of both economic and financial crisis, we find ourselves occupying a world which is becoming more and more uncanny.

The Superstitious Fund Project is a live experiment in which an algorithm trades based on superstitious beliefs. The autonomous algorithm makes decisions based on lunar cycles and numerology, and also develops its own form of superstitious logic, creating lucky and unlucky values that influence its behaviour. 144 people from around the world has invested a total of £4828.88 in the fund, which will return the resulting balance back to its investors in a year's time. Now trading, the stock market board shows the current performance of the superstitious fund in real time.

The accompanying book documents the creation of the fund, which was developed with the assistance of finance professionals, fortune tellers, programmers and lawyers.

Sponsored by Microsoft Research, GDP Capital and Embedded Adventures
Supported by

Programming: Jim L Hunt, Yosuke Ushigome, Benedikt Grosse.
Finance Advisors: Christopher Bouckley / Caliburn Capital Partners, Takeki Fukushima / UBS Securities, George Potts / GDP Capital and Oliver Hequet.
Special Thanks to Owen Wells

  • Ken (not Ben)

    How exactly is this different from other investment funds?

  • Michael

    “How exactly is this different from other investment funds?”

    The methodology for creation is purportedly transparent.

  • I discovered this article during a live performance at the Exeter Phoenix art centre.

    I asked the audience if they were superstitious. Nobody put their hand up.

    I asked the audience what my name was. They told me, and I typed it into Google on the Macbook kindly provided for the event by the Phoenix.

    I asked the audience who the biggest competitor to the manufacturer of this laptop was. Claire said "Microsoft", so I added that, then pressed "Enter".

    This is where we all ended up!

    @Michael – The source code for Sid the Superstitious Robert is available for download from the Trading Gurus website. You can't get more transparent than that.


  • P.S. Sorry for the typo. It was late, and I was therefore somewhat "tired and emotional". What would Freud have to say about all this I wonder?

  • MKing

    “How exactly is this different from other investment funds?”

    It’s not.

    “It’s transparent” – you’d have to be an idiot to not that know that 50% of trade patterns occur on wall street due to superstitious traders. I don’t think this project is very interesting. The hypotheticals that the designer is playing with are unimaginative and far too polite.

    This project is great if you know absolutely nothing about the finance and stock markets. Otherwise it’s a very poor thesis, a childish analytical project well executed.