Oh, and another thing…
(I am posting waaaaaaay too often on this blog lately — look for a two month hiatus shortly)
So here’s the thing. At SFist, we get a shitload of spam in our comments and trackbacks. Should be no surprise, right? I mean, it’s been flooding my email for almost as long as I can remember having email (oh, for the glory days of 1994-97, before I registered a domain and stupidly put my email on my homepage). Anyway, while a little tipsy from beer, a thought flitted across my brow:
The first commercial use of a program that can pass the “Turing Test” will be for spam.
Why? Well, first, most of the ‘subversive’ marketing these days is text-based. Humans just don’t leave photo comments or send HTML emails (though I could see hacking attachments of photos to the ‘great time I had with my new mature girlfriend watching Anna Kournikova naked’). Actual human-written spam, sometimes composed by people who’s first language isn’t english, isn’t necessarily any more intelligible than some of the obviously machine-composed nonsense. And, finally, black-hat SEOs are spidering millions of pages of blog content and adding them to their databases to fill with keywords and game Google.
So put those people who reverse-engineered the Google pagerank system to work writing an algorithm to analyze all that cached content. I think a neural net algorithm would work nicely. You need massively parallel computing for that task, you say? How about using all the trojaned zombie-boxes to do your processing…if you put the available cycles of all the compromised WinTels of the world together, you’d probably have the world’s largest supercomputer. And if anyone has been able to grok social engineering exploits, it’s hackers.
Okay, this is coming from a guy who thinks that mankind’s real dream and technological motivation (and I do mean man-kind) is to build a sexbot, but still. Anyone who’s watched technology knows that the innovation follows the money. And anyone who’s watched the internet knows that the money is in porn, advertising and advertising porn.