A simple metaphor for an important phenomenon. I’ll explain.
Cop bots are the enforcers. Google is an organizing algorithm but, more importantly, it’s also an exclusion robot. It says “you’re in,” and “you’re out.” It has to be very good at this, or it makes no money, and the robot gets shut down.
Spammers are infamous for sending millions of emails. These are robber bots. They find new ways around systems and exploit loopholes in the cop bots to give profit to their masters.
Both the cop and robber bots are massively leveraged. Both of them work extremely fast, but there’s one element that’s missing: humans.
Humans are currently sophisticated enough to detect most robber bots. We know when we’re on a splog instead of a real blog, and we know when a spam comment is real or not. But if you have a blog, especially one that gets a fair amount of traffic, you’ll notice it’s taking you longer than before to see what comments are real. Robber bots are getting smarter.
As time goes on, robber bots will get better and better at confusing us, just the same way game bots are getting better than humans at chess and Jeopardy. The cop bots accelerate too, but they need us to triage the grey areas, which is why there are “moderated” comments and CAPTCHAs that require human intervention.
This means humans will have to spend more and more time in the grey area, detecting robber bots.Â In other words, theÂ robber robots are accelerating. Humans are not.
This is exacerbated by the problem that more and more existing information is going online and becoming spammable, where detection is more difficult due to restriction in trust signals (ie humans can detect each other easier in person).
I hypothesize that the inevitable endgame to this is a 100% non-anonymous internet, which has already begun with Google Accounts, Facebook, and Verified Twitter accounts. I’m not sure I like this idea, but I have a feeling that there is no way to avoid it, because it is the only way to ensure that someone is human, thus giving us our time back (especially since content creators are often moderators, too).
It is highly possible that there are gaps in my logic. If so, please poke holes in them, I’d be more than happy about it.
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