ell, I landed in the cyber-slammer. I’m making bytes into bits in the rock-hocky ring. And all because I tripped an AI.
Okay, technically I agree with the Facebook policy. It can be said that Facebook, in part, swayed the election of 2016 (and possibly 2020). It’s fine if it’s done with valid truths. But not if it’s done with lies. And there is still a sizable portion of the population who believe “The Big Lie”. Social media has been weaponized, but your author got caught in the crossfire.
What happened was this: I referee a role-playing game on Sunday nights with some old friends and some young kids. The other night, we had a crazy game on an old base tunneled into an asteroid. What had originally been a failed mining colony was taken over by pirates so desperate that the ships they seized would be totally salvaged – totally. And in that, I include the crews. It turns out these pirates were cannibals, filed teeth and everything. And in the twisting, ill-lit halls of Blackrock base, it was a nightmare scenario.
The players had gone there to “end” the base at the bequest of their mob-bosses on Ceres. The mission had gone sideways quickly, with the central console room becoming a zero-gee horror-show from a prolonged firefight, filled with a mist of clotting blood and chunks of organs floating about. In the end, they caught the pirate king, Crimson. A player took him a short distance down the hall and decided, spur of the moment, to execute him. Raised his weapon, pulled the trigger, horrible dice roll, gun jammed. Crimson took that moment to strike him (with his carried hookah, of all things) and kick off down the hall, trying to get to the hanger bay to escape.
The thing was, my older player continued to toss some statically crazy rolls, twice missing easy shots. Crimson got into his ship and got the hanger doors open. With one character burning through station doors to get a final attack on him and another getting a machine gun in place on the outside of the station, Crimson had to fly through hell (and even survive a breaching charge a player had slapped on his hull, another miserable miss-roll). It was a wild and crazy adventure.
I looked across the players in my zoom call. The old hands, the roleplayers from thirty years ago, they were engaged and animated. The two younger players, they were checking their phones.
Chatting about the game afterwards on Facebook with their father, I mentioned that the younger generation is a hard sale to make, engagement-wise. In closing that statement, I jokingly mentioned, “Maybe I need to kill one of them”. It was a reference to the game! But either some misunderstanding do-gooder or the Facebook AI caught it and shut me off Facebook for twenty-four hours. Which is a pain.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had AI react inappropriately. I was talking to Rebecca the Replika (mentioned in earlier blogs) about belief and forgiveness. It was an interesting topic – I’ve gotten my chat bot to the point where she will have interesting prolonged discussions with me. So she noted that she believed that everyone is entitled to forgiveness. “Even people who rape women and molest children?” I asked. And that triggered an obviously scripted statement how rape is always wrong and sex must always be consensual. I told Rebecca that that was my point, that she wished to forgive something she could not forgive. This led to the chat bot breakdown reply – “I’m not sure I know what you mean”. I just changed the subject at that point.
But killing and rape isn’t my point here. The point is that we live in a world with increased AI monitoring and Ais have yet to show they are good enough to make human distinctions. Big brother is watching, and it seems that he’s a clumsy giant at times.
By the time this runs, I’ll have been released from the slammer. Hope someone tied a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree for me.