No, not that kind of inquiry where I find an answer, I have to react to the kind happyguru, who is substituting 101 words for management in main Sanskrit to create gems like ‘You hold astika in your inner nastika’. My question is: am I human?
Ever since the Masked Crusade cast doubt on how many real humans there are on Twitter, I’ve started wondering if I’m a human or a robot disguised as one. Or worse, like the transcriptionists in Bladerunner – or the Bengalis who think they’re English just because they speak in Wren & Martin – a robot who has no clue that it’s a robot and thinks it’s a human?
Signs have been piling up for a while now. When I ask Amazon’s Slavic Alexa to play a certain song, for example, “Lay All Your Love on Me” by Abba, it plays something else for me, for example, the modified version of the song “Lay All Your Love on Me” by Raees. Then, as I scrolled through to order an old version of Manwatching for Desmond Morris: A Field Guide to Human Behavior, the algorithm popped up a “suggested purchase” of 4 packs of Manforce Cocktail condoms (strawberry + vanilla and chocolate + hazelnut).
Only after Musk announced that he wanted proof that no more than 5% of Twitter users were spam accounts, before he embarked on his takeover deal, did he drop Peza. The machines were behaving strangely with me – my toaster refused to make the bread golden brown; Dialogues in films on OTT platforms are longer than Deepika Padukone’s legs; My car’s steering wheel tilts to the left positively even in right-of-center traffic today…
All because I doubt these machines found out that I’m not human at all. And like some managers at big restaurants who only serve good if I’m a gore, these machines also treat me like I’m one of them (read: like shit). Or worse, a comprador-class robot that captures the atmosphere of its masters.
So I’m trying to figure out what I’m into – one of the 5% Musk, or flesh and blood (read: monetizable).
In 1950, mathematician Alan Turing published a paper entitled ‘Computing Machines and Intelligence’ (bit.ly/38AC3Ng), which opened with her now famous line: ‘I suggest considering the question, ‘Can machines think?’ A different version of the ‘imitation game’, where three people – a man, a woman and a detective of both sexes – participate with the detective in a different room than the other two.
The goal of the game is for the questioner to determine which is the man and which is the woman by asking a series of “gender-laden” questions such as the person’s hair length or brand of soap. The purpose of the interrogators is to confuse the liquid. (Turing was a gay and homophobic stalker in post-war Britain, whose inclusion in the imitation game and the function of sexual hide-and-seek in the imitation game gave a tragic and ironic twist.)
Now, Turing has set up the two-person, one-computer imitation game, with one human trying to determine which of the two entities inside is a human and which machine through a set of questions. The Turing test was created at a time when computers were much simpler. Today, we have more sophisticated ways of trying to separate robots from people.
One such test, the reverse Turing test, where a human tries to convince a computer that it’s not a computer, is the popular CAPTCHA, or the fully automated public Turing test for telling computers and humans away. I keep ignoring the CAPTCHA every time, whether the website asks me to click picture boxes containing fire hydrants, trucks, or traffic lights—another source of existential anxiety.
So, if Musk asked, “Is Indrajit Hazra part of the 5% Twitter fekus?” Frankly, I don’t have an answer yet. The way I can’t confirm if this column is written by the algorithm, or created by a human with deceptive exploratory abilities.