The Conspiracy Generator: How to Turn Any News Story Into a Conspiracy Theory in a Matter of Seconds

What will the next major world event be? It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, as an old Danish proverb says (variously attributed to Niels Bohr or Yogi Berra or Mark Twain). But here’s one thing I can predict with great confidence: whatever happens, the event will soon spark a range of conspiracy theories gainsaying the official version of events. Some people – most likely a substantial number of people – will claim that the official story is just a cover-up for something far darker and more sinister. Everything was carefully staged, they will say, and we’re being duped on a massive scale.

How is it possible to make such a confident prediction without a crystal ball? Because it is, in fact, extremely easy to fabricate a conspiracy theory regardless of what will happen and who, if anyone, will be responsible; and because conspiracy theories, for both psychological and epistemological reasons, exert a great deal of attraction on the human mind. Even if the official version of the new world event already involves a conspiracy (as in the case of 9/11 or Watergate), people will still come up with second-order conspiracies rejecting the official version. Richard Nixon and Al Qaeda have been framed, they will say, and the 19 terrorists allegedly from Al Qaeda were just stooges hired by the real culprits.

Want to find out for yourself how easy it is to fabricate a conspiracy theory around any given news event, even multiple and contradictory conspiracy theories? Now you can! My philosopher colleague Marco Meyer and I, together with some tech wizards from Tech Jobs International, have designed an interactive, fully automated Conspiracy Generator to make the process as simple as possible. Just follow three simple steps and select three parameters (official story, culprit and motive), and our generator will spit out an intriguing, shocking, mind-bending, earth-shattering, but still (somewhat) plausible-sounding conspiracy theory.

Here’s one example: a crazy conspiracy theory about the decision by Korean Airlines to start weighing passengers. The real truth? A sinister group called The Fashion Icon Illuminati led by Kim Kardashian is trying to manipulate global body size perception, undermine the body positivity movement, and set “desired body standards” for humanitarian aid.

A crazy conspiracy theory about the decision by Korean Airlines to start weighing passengers.

[Read the rest of this piece on my Substack, or soon in Skeptic Magazine]