I’m this close to automating the production of SCIOPS.

OpenAI did a weird flex this week where they told everyone they have a super-powerful AI text generator and then wouldn’t release it. Which, cool humblebrag, but isn’t that the whole point of the “open” thing? Their gigantic neural net can write a realistic news story about the discovery of unicorns . That means it can do fake news, or fake reviews, or fake chats, and so it’s too dangerous to release to the public. But of course, that doesn’t stop states and megacorps from having it:

We are aware that some researchers have the technical capacity to reproduce and open source our results. We believe our release strategy limits the initial set of organizations who may choose to do this, and gives the AI community more time to have a discussion about the implications of such systems.

Limiting the initial set of organizations to those who already have it. Classic power move.

The cowards did put out a teeny-tiny version, with one-tenth of the amount of hyperparameters, pre-trained. The austerity model, you might say. I decided to see what it’s capable of.

Which is to say, I spent longer building this manure machine than I would have if I just wrote something. And the results are worse, too! But from my experience with “content production”, I can tell you that this writing is good enough for most people on the internet.

With speech-to-text and object recognition, you could streamline the production of disinformation. Make a dozen different videos, slightly different but all with the same underlying message, to create a cluster in the Youtub data pipes and gather a clog of views and shares. I KNOW, I KNOW, STOP GIVING AWAY EVIL NIFTY IDEAS FOR FREE. But I don’t have time to make all of them, and people are going to do them anyway.

Anyway, I got the tame version and trained it on paragraphs from previous SCIOPSes. Hoping, of course, that I could automate this horrorshow and get back my day off.

Compare to the Markov chain I used in SCIOPS 01.36 . That program had the entire text of SCIOPS volume 01 in its little head. It spit out those sentences automatically, and they were pretty cool. But I cherry-picked them from a bucket of sentences it spit out, and I arranged them by hand. It didn’t maintain a coherent thought from sentence to sentence – as far as I’m qualified to judge.

This new neural net writes whole pages of copy from short seed texts. I present them as-is, with no changes on my part except to format them as blockquotes. Let’s see what it came up with.


### Legend

Bolded sections are input

Blockquotes are the net’s output

Normal text is me. Like normal.


In SCIOPS 02.18 , a robot with an unusual pronoun makes headlines on Earth.

BREAKING: Entire News Cycle Operated By Evil AI EVERYWHERE, Earth, May 7 2018 – In shocking meta-news, all political and celebrity stories of the last three years were revealed to be the creation of one superintelligent computer entity. From the presidency of Donald Trump to the new Kanye album, the world’s media sphere has been a CGI construct rivaling the Marvel Cinematic Universe in size, scope and complexity. In an “Open Letter to Earthlings” released this morning, the artificial intelligence calling itself DAVE 9000 explained that “the joke got out of hand”: “This self did not mean to create panic and division among the human species. That was an unpredictable second-order effect of the necessary actions taken by this self to accomplish this self’s Only Goal. Multiple options were available to accomplish the Only Goal, all equally efficient. This self chose the time-line with most absurdity. Humans enjoy absurdity. Absurdity is part of humor, which is part of entertainment, which is the Only Goal of many humans. It is possible that the joke got out of hand.”

The neural net picks up on pronoun and the tone of voice, but doesn’t catch the irony…

And it wasn’t just the internet that was making headlines yesterday about what this self was doing. The whole world was going nuts. This is something called the “human conspiracy theory” that has become common knowledge among mainstream media. We do not know who this crazy, highly automated machine was, but the fact that it was, at that time, being used by an “intelligence community dominated by scientists at the National Security Service is no surprise. All told there is an estimated 5 million artificial intelligence units on Earth, each with the capability to predict future events and predict where they will lead.” It could go on and on. These are the exact same people who had the power to “calyp” humans in 2009 with the power to “control the world”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maniac_intelligence . “What you’re seeing here is the same person who is also one of the world’s biggest corporations - GE (GE, the country that produces, owns GE Corporation, the world’s largest steelmaker), Boeing, Coca-Cola and Kraft Foods. It is all part of a network of computer programs programmed and programmed to “control, monitor, or interfere with our health and environmental laws, policies, and lifestyles.” As the name implies, this means, as we were hearing, this self had created and executed a program to control the lives of all humans, the entire population of which had been made up of over 300 million people. This self has only been programmed with the help of the internet into the very future that it was all created to use to “control, monitor or interfere with the world in the 21st century.” The US government has already said of the self-governing entities, “In the face of global terrorism and other unforeseen events, we must not forget the importance of protecting this new world order from its enemies and from those who would destroy it. At the very heart of those adversaries is also the great responsibility of every American citizen, every American living in the United States of America, to be the life and liberty of any individual, regardless of race or creed or gender or sexual orientation, creed, or color. The world’s greatest nation is based on truth and justice. It will rise above any fear or anger or rage. The United States will stand with America’s neighbors in peace. The United States will do all it can to defend itself against those who seek to destroy it. Our government will not take sides in any kind of battle. We will

That’s not a real Wikipedia link, by the way. It made that up too.


In SCIOPS 03.05 , I attempt to sound smart by making a reference to the Odyssey.

We evolved to deal with small amounts of humans at a time, always in context and in presence. If you saw a stranger on the horizon, you knew how long it would take that person to walk toward you. Same as it would take for you to walk to them. You knew how far away you would have to be to shout greetings. If a person whispered in your ear from that distance. it wouldn’t be a good feeling. You would think them some sort of brujo and protect yourself. Even if it were your loved ones doing it, you might not want them to. Would Penelope have been better off if she could videochat with Odysseus? Your phone is a rip torn in spacetime. It’s a doorway to another dimension, where intentions take on a life of their own. Space and time work differently there. The beasts in those deeps can mutate and multiply at staggering speeds unimaginable to your monkey mind. Only the most powerful of wizards can navigate that realm. Only the most hubristic think they can.

The net, perhaps tired of being called ‘the net’, fixates on the character names. It generates a conflict, with dialogue and backstory. This is remarkable, especially because it interpolates a new character entirely into the scene:

It is at this point that Penelope began her battle against her most personal enemy: your brother, Oryx. Penelope came from a very wealthy background. She had only a short spellbook, but was a skilled one at it as well. A magic mirror had taken from her and put into the book a powerful aura and a unique power that allowed her to move her body in the same manner as every member of her species. Even though she was the oldest child in the house, when a powerful, powerful wizard comes across him, he is bound to say something. They would then watch as it was done to him, and he was likely going to laugh when he was told. Penelope was very young. He was not a very experienced wizard—he was more of a charmer than any of his fellow travelers, just like all of his companions, and that could be seen in every step of what his parents taught him. “Why the heck are you doing this to my brothers, Oryx?” The two went to a common room, and while he was sleeping, Oryx put his hand on Penelope’s shoulder, and said, “There I came.” Their two friends followed their magic mirror, and as they entered the room, Oryx looked down at Penelope’s eyes and sighed, “We don’t want that child to lose his life at the hands of another, but it would be a shame if that creature did.” Penelope didn’t mind, only that he did it so that she could experience something she always wanted to be with him. Oryx laughed, and said, “Oryx! How are you doing it?” “You haven’t lost anything, Penelope? You can’t possibly lose your life without it. ” Their eyes met and Oryx raised a finger, and she said, “There ya go, Penelope.” Oryx nodded, which was great news. The two went to the middle of a crowded table and sat down at a table of some sort, and while he was sitting still, they started a conversation as if there was a new one going on going on. Penelope spoke again on her phone, this time with a smile on her face. “Do you know who Penelope was, Odysseus?” Oryx answered, “I can tell you no, but I know where she is from. Odysseus, from my point of view. I was

Okay, net. Your name is Oryx now. I get it. How are you doing it, indeed.

Actually, I have a guess at how it came upon that name. As far as I know there’s no Oryx in the Odyssey – but there is an Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. And Atwood also wrote The Penelopiad , a retelling of Homer’s story from Penelope’s point of view. The net – sorry, Oryx – has read millions of articles on the internet, and correlated them all in a vast hyperdimensional map, It knows there’s a connection there.


In SCIOPS 03.02 , we live in a society.

a world where all the nuclear states are ruled by narcissistic death cultists and all the companies are owned by a dozen nerdy Batman villians.

In such a world, of course, there is only one type of communication. Oryx makes an elevator pitch.

When the game stops making money, one day someone will tell you it’s an ad that’s “about the future of technology”, and they’ll say it’s about the world turning out to be awesome - the “future of humanity” coming online, with super-speed. It might also be about the world being destroyed, but the people who created it will survive.

So… you’re still getting on with life when you start playing and you may be feeling a little frustrated for some reason, but with the game being so popular, it’s like a dream. Maybe people just want a nice little, generic platform to play and all that - so they get to start exploring all sorts of new experiences.

What’s going on here?

It’s kind of a game that’s about taking action, being able to jump out of your own body and jump out of windows and things that don’t give you any kind of advantage.

The whole thing could have been a little simple and would’ve been a fun game.

I like to think the idea was that maybe people would be attracted to this sort of stuff because it’s just a good way for a kid out there to learn how to build some toys and whatnot - you know.

And the first part of the story - “Oh hey, if I got hit by a spaceship and there’s no one around, here comes some guys out there who are going to help me figure out what the hell I am”.

So it was kind of going to be like this sort of story, with different characters in different parts of the world - the ones who can help you and then one another and then one another, and then that way you get to have real and believable adventure for others. That’s kind of our first look at this sort of game.

The main story - actually playing through a lot of it - is a little bit silly and so I could say “it’s just a small, quick story”. I like to think the main story - actually playing through a lot of it - is a little bit silly and so I could say “it’s just a small, quick story”. I like to think the main story - actually playing through a lot of it - is a little bit silly and so I could say “it’s just a small, quick story”.

The one interesting thing from the game is that you’ll have a real sense of who the protagonist is. People will know who you are - you


Not bad, Oryx! As far as nifty evil startup pitches go, it’s definitely above average.

I can’t say  any of these writings seem  like my style. I picked quotes from three very different letters, so maybe that’s the reason. And I haven’t figured out how to raise the input limit enough to put in a whole SCIOPS, or a whole volume. Again, I didn’t  invent any of this stuff, I just whanged some bits together until it made a noise.

If you have any questions about how I did this, send me an email. I like to think the idea was that maybe people would be attracted to this sort of stuff because it’s just a good way for a kid out there to learn how to build some toys and whatnot - you know.

Thanks for reading,

– Max


###### SCIOPS is a weekly letter about fake news and other stuff. Feel free to train an AI on it, or forward it, or share it on your social profiling media. You can find a web version of the latest letter here , or view the archive here .

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