A website full of machine-generated, dadaistic bollocks: #Bots
But why? My guess is to trick financial high-speed trading bots, who take signals from the web to guide their trades. Botnet VS Botnet. Some thoughts on the topic here https://samim.io/p/2018-04-23-the-solution-to-exploding-fake-news-and-spam-botnets-ca/
My recent piece "Thoughts on the Generative AI Creative Economy: there will be blood" (https://samim.io/p/2018-04-19-find-it-comedic-how-professional-digital-creative-tools/) generated some discussion on reddit, with people asking "is this concern real or just doom & gloom? Are there concrete examples?" Read my response here:
Beyond doom and gloom, there is hope: The vision/opportunity I sense is phenomenal: Creative AI tools could help raise the global level of literacy, creativity and empathy, by dramatically shortening the time of thought to highly communicative (possibly multimodal) artefacts. Many moons ago I wrote this extensive piece on the sector, from a more hopeful, slightly utopian perspective: https://medium.com/@creativeai/creativeai-9d4b2346faf3
Yet the reality of creative industries today looks very different: Advertising runs the show (see Google etc) - which is really just a synonym for either "spam" or "social engineering" - both horrible for societies in times of climate change - and not conducive as objective functions for more creativity or education. In the sense of raw reach & economic impact, the advertising industry is arguably the most powerful "art form" of the 21st century. And so when you ask for "concrete example" of dystopian generative systems, we must look at developments in this area.
One of the influential developer of creative tools - Adobe - recently has doubled down on the intersection of """AI""" and """Creativity""", with their "Sensei" Initiative. Guess who they are targeting with their tools? Yes, Advertisers. In the sector of advertising, the quality VS quantity debate is very different: it is NOT about the values of art in the classical sense, or about storytelling or other humane things - it is about naked money. This is a clearly parameterized signal to feed to machines as loss/reward-function - and due to this fake clarity, such systems can grow like cancer.
Such economic success is precisely what drives humans to extend generative advertising logic to other creative fields. Repetitive generative muzak in the charts and endlessly boring superhero movie rehashes on the screen are a reality already today, and all using some form of "optimisation" algorithms. And so we see the rise of "creative" botnets - the rise of fake news and ever more fractaline simulacra's (see this post: https://samim.io/p/2018-04-23-the-solution-to-exploding-fake-news-and-spam-botnets-ca/)
I personally do not agree with the politics and dynamics of the visions outlined here. My writing is meant as a warning pointer in search space. We must strive towards more appealing outcomes, for humanities sanity and well-being in times of climate change might very well depend on it.
Business Model of a Botnet: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1804.10848.pdf
Abstract: Botnets continue to be an active threat against firms or companies and individuals worldwide. Previous research regarding botnets has unveiled information on how the system and their stakeholders operate, but an insight on the economic structure that supports these stakeholders is lacking. The objective of this research is to analyse the business model and determine the revenue stream of a botnet owner. We also study the botnet life-cycle and determine the costs associated with it on the basis of four case studies. We conclude that building a full scale cyber army from scratch is very expensive where as acquiring a previously developed botnet requires a little cost. We find that initial setup and monthly costs were minimal compared to total revenue
"Real People Are Turning Their Accounts Into Bots On Instagram — And Cashing In": https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/people-are-turning-their-accounts-into-bots-on-instagram - As predicted here, "Botnets will be the quintessential art-form of the 2020s."
The term of the day: "automated engagement trading groups".
The logic of botnet users is very clear
"From blocking to botnet - Censorship isn't the only problem with China's new Internet blocking software" (2009): http://www.socialsignal.com/blog/rob-cottingham/censorship-isnt-only-problem-with-chinas-new-internet-blocking-software #Bots #Politics #AGB
The "Remix.Army" and "DadaBots: Socially Automated Dadaist Music Remix Bots" presentations by @dadabots from a few years ago are still super fun!
"So before we start thinking about how evil machines are, really this is just meta music - instead of playing the music, we are playing the musician" - @dadabots
Evolving Botnet thesis: In an online world dominated by a handful of giant corporations, only two entities make money comfortability: The Corporations - and Parasites, heavily using automation to extract a cut from the corporations. #Bots
My upcoming botnet will be called Lo-bot-omy - you heard it here first. #Bots
The makers of the virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, snag real money from Silicon Valley:
Everything We Know About the Feud Between These Two Computer-Generated Influencers: https://www.thecut.com/2018/04/lil-miquela-hack-instagram.html #Bots
Today, Botnets impact almost every aspect of human life. Promoting products, providing support, creating and distributing entertainment, and even winning national elections - all have become unthinkable without Botnets. They are a deeply transformative, yet silent technology.
A realistic solution to the rapidly exploding challenges related to Botnets (fake-news/social engineering/spam/pressures on human economic-systems/etc.) can't be more top-down regulation, censorship and control systems, developed and maintained by giant corporations, post-democratic governments and armies of shadowy contractors - all operating out of reach of effective public controls. As the surface for abuse of such systems is close to infinite, predictably the outcomes will be much worse than the original "evil" they pretend to combat.
Instead, I suggest making the tools and knowledge needed to create Botnets widely available to the creative class - and heavily investing in public education and the establishment of global efficacy standards. The resulting scenario will be equally chaotic and dangerous, but at least more fun, inclusive and transparent. To illustrate this, contemplate the following idea: "Brand celebrity endorsements, powered by generative deepfakes". Clearly, a botnet carrying out such a campaign at scale would be deeply disruptive (or deadly) for the advertising industry.
Beyond fear, there is hope - and so I leave you with the following prediction:
Botnets will be the quintessential art-form of the 2020s.