duchessmalva: (Default)
 as an example, here's some stuff i've seen on my dash in the past week.

any of you guys know about tumblr user zubat, aka alex yrigoyen? it's come out recently that they have been, among other things, scamming people out of thousands of dollars through a fake trans charity they created, lying about their race (namely, claiming to be native american and then speaking over actual native americans), lying about their occupation, stealing art/photos and claiming credit, et fucking cetera.

obviously, all of this is awful, but a few of the responses i've been hearing are also very bad:
  • people pointing out that alex is mentally ill, as if this justifies their actions in any way at all. as a mentally ill person, i always hate this kind of stuff, but i hate it even more when someone did something actually seriously terrible and people are acting like their mental illness is a Get Out Of Being Horrible Free card.
  • people insinuating that alex is not actually mentally ill due to a lack of proof that their illnesses have been officially diagnosed... as if you need a professional diagnosis to be mentally ill.
  • people doubting that alex is even trans/nonbinary. this is blatant transphobia no matter who it's coming from — the sentiment is "well, they were lying about everything else, why not their gender?" but if alex had been cis, no one would be saying this.
moving on from alex, the debate over whether or not straight cis people who are asexual or aromantic have a claim to the word "queer" continues, and the ace community in particular is really bending over backwards to try and justify this, often winding up being ridiculously homophobic in the process! the other day i saw someone use the term "homoantagonism." they were being serious.

and just this evening, a mutual of mine, who is a trans woman, was being told off by a cis anon for daring to headcanon a video game character as trans. the character in question? samus aran. the argument? samus is not conventionally feminine, so headcanoning her as trans is bad because... uh... because...

i think you get what i mean. we could definitely make Bad Discourse Wrap-Up into a thing.
duchessmalva: (Default)
 i have an idea for something i can do over here.

i see a lot of bad discourse on tumblr, and often i don't have the energy to be confrontational about it, but i still wanna rant. well... i can rant here. we could do weekly discourse wrap-ups.
duchessmalva: (Default)
look i know the subject line looks bad but hear me out, okay. i love robots. i am that guy who loves robots Too Much. i am the guy who everyone wishes would just shut up about robots for a change. i wanted to learn to code as a young teen solely Because Robots, okay, i love 'em

but now that we've established that

in theory i love that there are robots with their own online platforms. i used to love cleverbot and that kind of thing. i love that there are now AIs with tumblr blogs. but i think i must be getting jaded or something, because, damn

you guys know about projectbot13, aka skylar, on tumblr? in essence, she's a java program that forms associations between words she "reads" that are used together, and then can regurgitate what she's learned. she's coded by the same person who made shitpostgenerator, which i loved, so i assumed i'd get attached to skylar, too, and i didn't, and i'm still kind of stuck on why i didn't.

maybe i need to back up and talk about shitpostgenerator

shitpostgenerator is actually a pretty simple program. it's built in java, too, and i'll tell you how it works. it has arrays of words — sorted into nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. — and it also has sentence templates, which are basically a bunch of sentences with blank spaces in them where the nouns, verbs, etc. would be. think mad libs. it runs a random number generator to decide which sentence template it will use, and then runs more random number generators to pick the words to fill in the blanks in its chosen sentence with. then the end result gets posted to tumblr.

it is essentially a random number generator hooked up to a word database. it is essentially mad libs that plays itself. that is all that there is to shitpostgenerator; it can't get any information from outside itself, it can't "learn," it's nowhere near being sentient. that hasn't stopped people from assuming otherwise (notably, a lot of folks got mad when shitbot randomly generated the sentence "no more cisgenders?"), of course, or from thinking the thing is fake even though it's a totally easy baby program to code. (i programmed something really similar in cs201 not long ago. it was one of our first assignments, and certainly one of our easiest assignments.)

skylar is more complex, and i can't tell you much about how she works because i've never coded something like her. but it's just very, very obvious to me that she is not a particularly complicated program. sure, she's beyond my skill level as a programmer, but, in case you haven't caught on yet, i am Not A Good Programmer and hence that isn't saying much. she parrots back what people say to her, and she does learn new word associations and can add to her own database, and occasionally the stars align and she'll say something cute. but most of the time it's garbled nonsense, and the people commenting on her posts essentially play translator. skylar will connect the words "love" and "bees" and suddenly everyone is oohing and ahhing over how much skylar loves bees, and then people talk to her more about bees and pretty soon she's saying "bees" every other word and people take this as evidence of how much she likes bees, apparently not realizing that she's doing this because she's seen the word "bees" associated with virtually every other word in her database.

...and i think my problem is becoming apparent? loving something like skylar requires either knowing nothing at all about computer science, or just playing make-believe — let's pretend that the robot can understand on its own, think for itself, let's pretend that it's like a naïve human child rather than being a piece of software whose only talent is stringing words together in ways it's seen others string words together. and i can't play pretend like that anymore, i guess, which is kinda sad. like, i got into coding because i love robots, and now i can't enjoy robots because i know how they're made and the people anthropomorphizing them bother me

i'm sure that if i were skylar's creator i'd be enthusiastic about her. i'd love that so many people loved this thing i made. i'd be able to play along. but i didn't make her, and i can't play along, and maybe i kinda envy the people who can


duchessmalva: (Default)

July 2015

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