Madness or Genius?

In this fast-moving, modern world we inhabit, there is an ever-increasing amount of information to sort through and process. Broadcast media, newspapers, magazines, social media, online news, mobile devices – all bombarding us with information at a dizzying rate.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, we’re subjected to an equally-daunting torrent of advertising, with every retailer we’ve ever looked up even once on Google hurling invocations to buy their products into our inboxes, feeds and timelines; through our letter boxes, on our voicemail, intruding on our mobiles via SMS.

And then – yet another layer – the spam: automated, semi-literate garbage, spewed by bots to fill up any miniscule corner of our lives that aren’t already reeling from informational and retail overload.  Or is it?  Cory Doctorow once metioned to me that he felt the world’s first emergent AI would come not from the lab of some big-brained computer scientists but would derive from spambots’ ever-evolving quest to produce word salad that can defeat your computer’s spam filter.

I don’t know whether that’s (a) true, (b) impossible or (c) has already happened, but I do know that if one takes a step back and looks at some spam without viewing it through the grumpy you’re-wasting-my-time filter, some of it is quite lyrical. Look:

A person necessarily help to make seriously posts I’d state.
This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
I amazed with the analysis you made to make this
actual submit amazing. Excellent task!

Not quite a haiku, but there’s a certain mad poetry to it.