Who exactly does an algorithm think you are?

SKU is a satirical mini-market that explores how purchasing habits and online behaviors can be interpreted, skewed, and applied to shape our lives in unexpected ways.

At SKU-Market, you get to 'buy' the things you like from the Algorithmic Aisle.

It is lined with products that give you ‘life’: equal rights t-shirts, daily astrology apps, VR headsets, joggers, rosé, bamboo toilet paper, and more!

Over 40 items line the shelves, but you only need to add 5 to your cart for SKU to get to know the real YOU.

SKU-Market was commissioned for Science Gallery Dublin’s exhibition BIAS: BUILT THIS WAY.

At Self-Checkout, you print your SKU receipt to see how our proprietary algorithm interprets your purchases to create a vivid picture of who you are.

At SKU, we go above and beyond for our shoppers so you can also expect an exclusive offer from our Third Party partners.

But watch out: you might not like who SKU-Market thinks you are.

In the shadowy back of SKU-Market, you assume the role of a surveillance capitalist.

Watch the SKU AI Profile Generator visualize each shopper profile, item by item.

One shop, and your profile is locked in the SKU AI system for life!

When we’re subjected to algorithms we can’t understand, it’s worth contemplating: Who really decides? A company like SKU or YOU?

We created SKU-Market to prompt reflection and conversation about online data policies and how biased algorithmic assumptions about us can affect not just what we buy, but who we think we are.

SKU-Market is designed to make observable the ways in which personal consumer and information seeking choices may be used to create our online profiles. These are likely narrow, decontextualized and deeply biased, but are used to present you with a version of yourself.

BIAS Curator Julia Kaganskiy on SKU-Market in her essay: We are all biased, so what can we do about it?

“In today’s media environment, our every action becomes a data point captured and logged by the dozens of digital platforms and networked devices we interface with each day. Each scroll through the feed or trip to the supermarket generates hundreds of insights about our interests, relationships, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears—all of which are algorithmically analyzed to produce highly detailed individual profiles. Our personal data is mapped onto a massive social graph that lets companies compare our behavior against that of millions of other users in order to predict what we might do next. In an attempt to make services that are easy and convenient, and to serve up targeted content and advertisements, companies have created a surveillance apparatus that purports to know us even better than we know ourselves. These issues are satirized in SKU-Market, a new installation from artist Laura Allcorn and Trinity College professor Jennifer Edmond that explores how computational capitalism and algorithmic profiling create new forms of social stratification.

The project takes the form of a shop where each purchase is used to determine the buyer’s character and make future decisions on their behalf. Visitors are asked to pick five things that “give them life” from the shelving display, which contains items like rosé wine, football jerseys, VR headsets, and dating apps, as well as human rights t-shirts and reusable plastic bags. The SKU-Market algorithm uses each selection to build a profile of the shopper and make predictions about their future needs and desires. It highlights the way digital platforms exploit and reinforce our biases through discrete forms of social engineering, initially developed by advertising and marketing industries in the 20th century and perfected by companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to optimize their advertising-supported business models.”


BIAS: BUILT THIS WAY at Science Gallery Dublin

October 22 2021 - February 2022

BIAS: BUILT THIS WAY is an interactive, thought-provoking exploration of preferences, prejudices and digital equity.

This new season by Science Gallery Dublin interrogates how prejudice can move quickly from human to machine as algorithms and artificial intelligence systems are encoded by humans with very human values, preferences and predispositions.

This October, we’re reopening our doors with a new exhibition with commissions from cutting-edge Irish and international artists, and online, we’re launching a unique digital exhibition showcasing digital artworks exploring data equity, privacy, surveillance culture, facial recognition, class and artificial intelligence.

Can understanding human bias help build more ethical AI? Or can understanding machine bias help build more equitable societies? What can a deeper look at bias in humans and machines teach us about ourselves? Find out for yourself at BIAS: BUILT THIS WAY.

Commissioned by Science Gallery Dublin and created with ADAPT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology.


BIAS was curated with Julia Kaganskiy and ADAPT, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology.


This programme was supported by Accenture Labs, in Accenture’s flagship R&D and global innovation centre, The Dock, and the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. BIAS is supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.


Artist- Laura Allcorn

Researcher- Dr. Jennifer Edmond (ADAPT Research Centre for AI Driven Digital Content Technology + Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub)

Developer- Dr. Ivan Bacher (ADAPT Research Centre), SKU-Market App and AI Profile Generator

Designer- Nikole Gramm, SKU-Market logo and packaging system