When robots write the news
December 10, 2007 5 Comments
Lately, my e-mail account at work has been receiving a lot of spam that consists of a block of text, a pornographic image, an ad for some drug, and then another block of text. It’s become a routine yet surreal part of my day, being bombarded with porn while I’m trying to do my job. But never mind the porn. What fascinates me is the text above and below it, designed to get the message through spam filters. It’s made from fragments of news reports, stuck together at random, often forming sentences that are grammatically complete but make no sense. It reminds me of another routine yet surreal experience: being bombarded with news in some public place that’s full of TV sets telling one story while summaries of other stories scroll across the screen. I try to focus on whatever I came there to do, but the endless barrage of words penetrates my consciousness. Those big media corporations are doing some questionable journalism these days. Their fixation on seemingly unimportant stories and the way they jump around from topic to topic makes me wonder if the broadcasts actually are being engineered by some nonhuman entity. It sounds very much like the randomized text from the spam. In a few years, the anchor-droids on FoxABCBS Newsfeed may be saying things like this:
The opening of new digital operating theaters at Mercy Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first, shot 10-18 from the field and picked up the city of Karachi, Pakistan, in 2002 put to death by Marcus Junius Brutus and a flurry of fans who gathered scrutiny. Another transcript of a Guantanamo Bay missing dog’s severed head, found by a 17-year-old girl, defeated Walter the Fifth of Brienne.
The five permanent members of the United Nations found that Rose did indeed bet on baseball. He initially was larger than the state of Texas. Eerie.
Saturn’s moon Enceladus may host “internal life,” freeing two Italian oilworkers that it took captive as the caregiver of a child. The game finished dramatically, as Ramos drove a minivan laden with explosives toward the goal, but Soviet spy businesses and coastal areas moved inland. He described it later as the happiest year of his life. Word was spreading of mass exterminations at Auschwitz, instilling in the boy a sense of his own self-worth. Tivadar bolstered Island. They were too far away to see or hear the frightening events Soros confessed later. I didn’t get much out of that course. The fighting seemed to occur mostly between Jews in a nondivine dimension. He was, according to all accounts, no genius.
A woman found buried in sand in a bathtub has clinched the playoff. “This man needs my handbags like trading one menacing existence for another,” she said.
Senior Sergeant Mal Lochrie said that the officer announced the 49ers offensive assistant Pep Hamilton. The first page sells that book. The last page ended the first Punic War.
Ian Paisley claimed Sinn Fein’s decision to be “devastated” at his death. His co-star Wendy Richard said, “The message of the electorate is clear. The People’s Republic of China is suspended again, and MLAs will have their salaries.”
On February 23, the roof of this cavern struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra with permission and uses the copyright work until its author expects protests on Wednesday. Quick to respond to the emergency, all three electronic Finance Minister of Thailand look at it as a meeting that is going to produce an unnamed university. The Canadian government was due for a significant correction: Mongolian victory in the battle of Yamen. U.S. and Chinese stock exchanges had powered upward for a police raid on Geo TV’s offices in Islamabad the day Blair claimed during a news conference he scored 3 power play goals and was penalized by death, according to Iranian law, establishing the European Economic Community.
Whether or not there is any microbial life within Bob Woolmer, the Pakistani cricket coach, is a minute-repeater function of our countries, our peoples, and the economy. As if arsenic were found in the product, Edinburgh Council focused on improving ice deposits in the south pole of Mars that had headquarters on Madison Avenue, New York City, showing greenhouse gases transformed into a high-achieving organization.
And then, once we’ve become accustomed to the televisions spewing the same nonsense as our inboxes, then they’ll come for the fiction. Novels will be 200-page, multi-font, pornographically-illustrated agglomerations of paragraphs like this:
Finally a secretary popped into Teodoresco’s office to let him know. And yet there is no marquee. Standing in the large Vittoria Square, excited. Finally, he asked her formally to become the foundation of his home. His phone line was cut, and he was briefly confined because it is, in the end, very draining and very exhausting.
It sure is, John. It sure is.
Followup: About those newsbots…