So the other day I had a troll visit my Facebook…or rather, some sort of “bot.” It was nothing really directed towards me, but rather some short, asinine, vaguely ideologically-driven, near word-salad commentary left on a major news story I posted.
And I would imagine they fish for the trending keywords and then deposit this near word-salad on a bunch of random accounts, for whatever purpose; to spam-promote a pyramid scheme, to assist in the continuing takeover of our country by foreign powers, or perhaps simply to make friends and influence people.
Anyway, so I click on the account that left the message, and the dude had a pic of the fucking *Kremlin* on his banner. He lists a major American city as his location, but like he’s got the Kremlin banner, and a friends list consisting of headshots of mostly extremely attractive women with Russian names.
And I say to myself (because you know, I’m really smart and I read The Daily Mail every day), “this is a bot. From Russia. Just like in the 2016 presidential campaign.”
And I feel pretty pleased with myself that I have seen through this particular ruse. But my satisfaction is short-lived, in that I wonder: “Why would a Russian bot purposely give itself away by having the Kremlin as its banner?” It doesn’t make sense.
It was actually the result of an American counter-intelligence operation designed to discredit the Russians!!”
So now I feel especially clever.
It’s at this point that I should describe to you the profile photo that was attached to this FB account, which consisted of like a regular-type young man except for his skin—which
looked like it was made out of shiny plastic—and his eyes, which were slightly too large. It was sort of giving me an uncanny valley vibe.
And it almost looked like…this guy wasn’t real. I mean, he didn’t look like a CGI render, he didn’t look like he was supposed to be an anime character, or a robot, or anything like that…he just didn’t look 100% human. Rather, he was instead like maybe 98.889% human. The humanity was only off by a few percentage points.
But this reminded me of the strange case of Padma McCord—a beautiful but enigmatic woman with an extensive footprint on the web of cryptic tweets, and YouTube videos. As we’ve seen in my post on the equally enigmatic Karin Catherine Waldegrave, it is difficult to figure out if the etherial Padma is a real person, a bot of some kind, an elaborate troll, or if the entire thing is just one big MKUltra experiment.
But increasingly, these are the citizens of our global, digital neighborhood.
And what if a slick-skinned, doll-eyed bot accidentally gains AI sentience? A life lived exclusively through social media by an artificial form of life; free from a mediating influence or programmer or handler?
Which is to ask…what if a simple unassuming bot becomes Ultron?
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Online Reality IS A Reality (It’s Just Not “Reality”)
Jumanji 2.0: Are Our Avatars Realer Than We Are?
Do We Even Need Real People To Follow On Instagram?