Something that happens when you keep a blog on the internet is that you will be bombarded with comments from what I assume are spambots. It appears that these comments are being generated by something writing vague positive sentiments into a free translation program, and posting the result. Often, they walk this wonderful line between complete gibberish, and simple direct commentary on a blog, such that you would expect to see in any comment section on the internet. My mind stretches and contorts to wring meaning out of the lines, ultimately ceasing unsatisfied. It’s the uncanny valley for basic human communication.
Sometimes, when it is late or early enough, I find myself needing to read a comment several times before accepting that the message is clearly not real. Perhaps it is the constantly positive stance these bots hold that makes me not want to dismiss them so quickly, regardless of how broken their sentences are. I’d be lying if I said their garbled praise didn’t initially make me feel better about myself.
I am not sure what the end game is for the creators of these bots. How are they getting money out of me? The only time a product is mentioned is when the Japanese send me immense blocks of text about how great Windows products are.
I once spent several minutes moronically combing through my previous posts checking for spelling errors because one of the bots called me out for it.
I have read about plug-ins I could install to lower the amount of these that I receive, and I am sure one day I will tire of the constant assault (I receive about ten a day). But for now, a simple click of a button removes them, and I am starting to get a feel for how the scraps of sentiment are generated and aligned. And frankly I should enjoy this moment in the history of technology when I can still tell whether I am talking to a human being or not. For now I remain charmed, even with the occasional ominous warning.
I have been staying at many different airbnbs while attempting to become settled in Portland. Along with pictures of the house you will be occupying, there is also a rundown of the culture of the home. Don’t let the dog out, please take off your shoes, etc. The same sort of information is nearly always present making me assume there is a prompt next to the text box giving a list of suggestions of things to mention. This creates an environment that makes the outliers quite stark. They often hint at strange moments dealing with strange people. Erstwhile guests who still haunt these profiles.
I was looking at a nice little apartment near my work that had a list of dos and donts, and among them was “No Pornography”. A quick scan of the rest of the text offered no elucidation. What incident led to this becoming a deal breaker, or even a consideration when vetting prospects for the private room? This means that this host had several people somehow making enough of a fuss with pornography to warrant its inclusion. Or, they had one person do something egregious enough to justify preemptive action. Which is worse, and why?
One of the deep joys of airbnb is meeting the type of person who willingly lets strangers into their home on a consistent basis. People often speak of how travelers grow and change because of the folks they meet along the way. This suggests that the effect would be amplified on the host, as they are constantly acquainted with these tales of discovery and development. Their repeated exposure to the itinerant erodes and warps them, leaving a smooth and pleasant peer. One who often allows me to enjoy being the least eccentric person in the room for a short while.