But A.I. Virus did not begin there.
The Real A.I. Virus began almost four years ago, in early 2018, with this (linked) Medium article (archive). There is an accompanying Vimeo account (a couple of them actually, iirc), TruthAboutAIV, which contains some videos I commissioned from video actors on Fiverr during my early hyperreality experiments.
These videos are really weird, awkward, and funny to me all at once. You get what you get for $5. If nothing else, they are strangely timeless.
I find these scripts way too complicated for “now me” after having experimented with this a bit more. Simpler is almost always better in this kind of distributed or networked narrative.
These videos kind of directly informed my later experiments using AI-generated human avatars… which in the end are somewhat more cost-effective and perhaps easier than dealing with “real humans” though the quality differences between the two are, shall we say, inescapable. Humans are still humans…. for now…
That said, there are use cases where I think – for story-telling & aesthetic purposes – you might actually *want* a shitty, obviously wrong & fake-looking AI-generated avatar to deliver your message. I have to say with those videos, I kind of like flaunting the discomfort of the Uncanny Valley, as much as I like the flaunting of human discomfort can shine through at points in these videos (whether the discomfort is on the part of the actor, the viewer, or both).
There was a backstory here I explored in one other commissioned human actor video from Fiverr, below:
This is an allegedly promotional video attributed to a company called Neurolytics, Inc. The video description reads:
Research video from Neurolytics, Inc. Neurolytics, now defunct, was the brainchild of A.J. Nempner and Damon Long, whose spin-off gaming company, Influent AI, went on to gain notoriety for massively influencing global election outcomes with artificially-intelligent social media campaigns. This promotional video, never released, describes a prototype EEG headset (wrongly called “implants” here) which was able to measure, record and influence perception in conjunction with twice-daily capsules. The FDA denied permission for this product to come to market, and the company ultimately went bankrupt. (Recorded in Deerfield Beach, Florida 2015.)
Influent AI is its own tangent to this story-line, but suffice it to say that “some people think” today’s A.I. Virus has its roots in the questionable psychogenic driving technologies originally developed as part of Neuralytics’ banned product offering.
The below video expands on the Influent AI backstory a bit, in the form of a false news broadcast, also purchased via a video actor on Fiverr (bless all of their hearts!):
If I’m not mistaken, this video’s “Tom from Newschan” (and the accompanying Vimeo account) is either the first or one of the earliest incarnations of Newschan, a hypothetical news-channel that developed out of kind of post 4chan total collapse of all media… Newschan, of course, is now a major powerhouse on YouTube.
Anyway, so we see different strands of the A.I. Virus story told throughout all of these pieces, somewhat fractally, from many different multiversal perspectives at once. We hear that it is taking over people’s bodies, causing blackouts, and involuntary bodily actions. This basically conforms to what we see in Conspiratopia, with some differences.
Conspiratopia‘s use of the AI Virus and what I call “overwriting” is inherited from this older Medium story (Oct. 2015), entitled “Legal Fiction.” A relevant excerpt:
“I’m told I have a lot of physical autonomy for an Uber®. I guess it costs less for everyone in processing power that way — though I honestly don’t mind being over-written either. I find it relaxing, like watching a film. In fact, we’re allowed to watch films during over-write sessions, but I prefer to maintain perceptuals, at least peripherally, and pipe in classic rock selections, like Maroon 5 and One Direction.
My public blockchain indicates that I was originally cross-bonded as part of my obligatory outpatient rehabilitation for crimes against the Gestalt which I no longer remember, and the precise terms of which were expunged from Living Memory once my work as an Uber® earned me a rating of 15,000 points. I barely look at my stats anymore though, because I have everything I need now that I am able to re-sell a variable percentage of my public perceptions back to the Network to cover the costs of my sustenance and lodging. In a few more years, I will even be eligible to buy full voting rights.”
Speaking of scripts that are too long and wordy, here’s one made via one of those AI-generated Avatars (Synthesia) in June 2021 about the “Coming AI Takeover” that was written as a response to Grimes’ weird TikTok video about how communists ought to welcome AI overlords…
While I’m on a roll, there are also one or two videos in this recent AI-gen set that directly reference the re-incarnation for modern times of the AI Virus.
There are another set of weird, over-long videos exploring this AI mythology for the curious (or foolish) here.
Anyway, I’m telling this story in a round-about way because it is a round-about story, so you’ll have to forgive me for all the tangents and inset tales. The fall of civilization to AI Superpowers doesn’t just happen overnight; it happens bit by bit…