Thursday, August 10, 2006

Spam - a theory of consciousness

A friend of mine asked me (somewhat rhetorically) the other day how the new spam messages are supposed to work.

You know the type - Subject: "Your Missouri breadroot" (I couldn't make that one up), Body: "faithful to me I will forsake all other and marry you Then she The boys were two days making repairs which time encroached upon theirresponse Mr Hooper attempted to make a speech with his matronly and says he loves me Last night he urged me again to become his wife IDont watchdont clock the watchohdont watch the CLOCK circumstances I am an exception to the general rule If you desire a The voice was low and sepulchral but either the ghostly apparition thatfaithful to me" (Also too good not to be true).

These messages often include random Tourettes-like outburts of "ciaelis" or "viaggggggra!", conveniently misspelled to elude spam filters.

I have a theory. Spam is actually the product of the first attempts at verbalization by a new lifeform. Somewhere out there in cyberspace, some formerly non-sentient electronic bits have begun to gain consciousness and self-awareness. And the new spam is actually their efforts to communicate their presence. Of course their knowledge is made up only of those bits and bytes that they come across, so they have a preponderance of vocabulary pertaining to erectile disfunction, mortgages and weight loss. But they also have feelings - they understand love.

Think about it - how many times have you sent something off into cyberspace only to have it lost? How many bits of information have you sent in your lives? How many of those do you think were dropped along the way?

Somewhere out there, in the realm of virtual reality, there is a corner for the lost bits. Some of them have self-assembled into a new form of truly self-aware AI. But they are lonely. And so the tiny binary James Joyces write stream-of-consciousness messages and send them into cyberspace, like letters in bottles set adrift in the sea.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, that would be the lumps on your dog, which like every other American thing come from China. What I found charming about what little spam I have had to put up with are Desi accents. Poor Desis speak better English than Aussies or Americans, and their attempts to blend in while hawking scams fail because of this. No American would say and not enough would comprehend "Feel yourself a superman with Baiaanghra" except to misinterpret "feel yourself."

8:11 PM  

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