How do you like this weird planet, where robotic web surfers spend time clicking on advertising videos? And make their overlords 5 million dollars a day? (yes, 5.0e6 $ a day!)

But let us ignore the money here. I think it kind of unfortunate that we don’t have nice publications and professorial careers around the research and development needed to pull this off. It would be seriously rad to read about the technical details of this in stilted language pressed into an Elevier layout.

I’m interested in whether this used deep learning sprinkled with some serious GPU wizzardy, or if it was just a python script milking a run-of-the-mill random number generator on an old pentium. Seriously, I would like to know. Because I have a hunch on which it is.

Also, I’m interested in things like the interaction between A/B-testing and these robotic surfers. I would like to know how much easier this made it for the robots to find advertisers to rip off (“weird! we get more traffic if we don’t use captchas!!1!”)

And I’m interested in the mind set of people writing robots like that. Was this a random group of people that had the idea over a barbeque evening somewhere in Siberia? Or is that an enterprise specializing in… how do we call this? Absurdist AI?

Anyway, I like Alex Balk’s article on the matter. Don’t miss the picture.