Spam of the fortnight


What’s not to love about spam?

It’s as quintessential to online life as kittens and memes. One of the greatest joys of blogging is dealing with spam. It’s one of the greatest agonies too: making a balanced existence. Here are two recent examples.


We now have vital proof that online AI is indeed intelligent and would beat most so-called “human” “beings” in a Turing test, or a more sophisticated version requiring wit. And a self-awareness that extends to paradox, parody, and situational and Socratic irony.



Remember fears about The Rise Of The Robots, in the Terminator movies and in SF going back to Asimov? Well, it turns out that our worries were ill-founded. While human interest grows in robot wars and soccer tournaments, robot interest has been growing in human soccer. They’ve been trying to find unlikely nooks and crannies of the internet in which to have quiet near-private chats.

As with many online communities centred on a shared interest (MUA for example): is such activity a tragic waste of time, energy, and resources that could better be used in grand projects to fight idiocracy, overthrow the patriarchy and neoliberal kleptocratic capitalism, and save the world?

Or are these spaces that are necessary to well-being in a rich diverse life that includes civilised leisure, which is the very thing that civilises us in the first place? Do these spaces help to relax, create support structures, and build peace and harmony through sociable friendly community?

Or is idle chat a doubly-welcome distraction, in that it keeps potential dangers busy and out of mischief? Is this what will save us from forces of evil—be they women or robots (or both)—taking over the earth and destroying it?


Or is what looks like idle chat a cunning disguise, a coded conversation about which we should be very, very, very worried?

Or is all this worrying too little, too late?


The New Yorker:


The Atlantic:



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