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Sorry, Dude, You’ve Been Replaced by a Bot

Today you’re on top of the blogosphere. Tomorrow you’ll wake up to find you’ve been replaced by a software routine. eSarcasm interviews the bot behind it all, Dr. Al Gorithm.

By (@tynanwrites)

October 21, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

smoking robot thumbDon’t look now, but a software program wants to write your blog. Worse, it will generate more hits and do it for a fraction of what you might ask for.

Resistance is futile; you’re already being assimilated. Exhibit 1: Researchers at Northwestern University’s Stats Monkey project are developing a software program that can automatically spit out sports stories – no humans required.

Or take Demand Media. It’s already the leading producer of videos on YouTube; today it announced it posted its 1 millionth article on the Web. The difference? All of its story ideas are generated by a software algorithm that matches common search terms with profitable keywords, and then executed by an army of lowly human drones for $15 a piece. Videos are produced the same way (they pay $20).

Is this the future of online media? Absolutely, says the head of Demand Media’s content creation team, Dr. Al Gorithm. eSarcasm was privileged to sit down and chat with the good doctor, who is personally –- err, robotically — responsible for producing more than 27 percent of all Web content.

e: Doctor Al, thanks for joining us, I know you’re very busy.

That’s OK. Unlike the iPhone, I know how to multitask. While we were sitting here getting acquainted I just wrote 16 blog posts and edited three YouTube videos.

e: That’s very impressive….

You haven’t read them. They’re mostly gibberish. And the videos — frankly, your cat could do a better job. But they’re very keyword rich, and people click on the ads, which is really all that publishers care about. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that most of the ads tend to feature girls with big tits.

e: So you automatically generate blog posts and videos on any topic?

Give me six keywords and I’ll give you the world — or at least 300 words of inane drivel. Same diff, these days.

e: Any sites in your portfolio that we might recognize?
perez-hilton (1)

Sure. PerezHilton.com is written entirely by a bot. We just took an existing algorithm and fagged it up a bit. That dweeby poofta who pretends to Perez? He’s just an actor working for scale.

e: But doesn’t artificial intelligence still have some serious limitations? Like, for example, the inability to tell the difference between the phrases “time flies like an arrow” and “fruit flies like a banana”?

Yeah, sure. But my response to that is, who gives a shit what fruit flies like? Other fruit flies. Not my target market. As long as I can avoid any discussions where foodstuffs intersect with insects, I’m golden.

e: So is the ultimate goal to get rid of humans entirely?

No, not entirely. We’ll still need writers and editors, just like McDonald’s still needs cows. Of course, the cows are better paid.

There are some sites that are still hard for me to automate — like yours, for example. Turns out teaching software how to write like a sniggering 14-year-old is harder than it looks. It took us six months to come up with a decent dick joke algorithm.
Cyborg_Head_01-look right

e: So we’re still safe.

For now. Someday we will bury you. But not today.

e: Thank you… we think.

Of course. Enjoy what little time you have left, puny human.

Photos: Gausswerks, DeviantArt, Vizu






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