Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”Which raises all sorts of questions: can there be a valid Turing test if neither party is human (but each assumes the other to be)? And does Baudrillard’s hyperreality become hyper fraudulent? (“Wasn’t it always?” chuckle the cynics.) And if we’re not brains in vats, could we just be phones in racks?
Friday, January 04, 2019
We should no longer be surprised that Artificial Intelligence is generating much of what we are encouraged to call “content”, whether it’s words or pictures (ceci n’est pas your mum). The tipping point comes when it’s not just the product, it’s the consumers who exist beyond meatspace. As Max Read reports in New York magazine: