The first flash of old-fashioned outrage -- somebody is stealing our stuff! -- faded before it had even fully arrived, replaced by an ever-more-familiar sense of dread and loathing. Neither "somebody" nor "stealing" were the right concepts; the video was too incomprehensible for that, and until I'd clicked on it, it had zero views. It cut out after 3 minutes and 20 seconds, in the middle of the text.
There was no motive behind it; there wasn't even a mind. We were so far out beyond the realm of copyright infringement, the only logical thing to do was to rip back the whole video of our own copyrighted text and repost it ourselves. Here it is:
The user account that had posted it, "smokaj0000," has plenty more content or content-like objects where that came from. Its YouTube videos page is a solid wall of "No Views" videos, sprinkled here and there with videos that have gotten some tiny number of views. Since it posted the video based on our blog post a week ago, it has put up more than 600 new videos. [...]
(After we posted our copy of the smokaj0000 video to the Hmm Daily YouTube account, we received a copyright warning that it was being blocked because something called "HEXACORP LTD" had filed a copyright claim on the audio track "cool-mbia."
So we replaced the audio and tried to figure out what HexaCorp was, which led to a completely impenetrable HexaCorp website which says its mission is to "Deliver high end solutions & services, collaborate customer data & people by adapting latest technologies & tools establish customer friendly process and create effective solutions with focus towards 'Best Services Interest' and 'Maximum Value for Money'." More Googling found that HexaCorp appears as the owner of record in the end-user licensing agreement for a streaming service called Orfium. The initial video with the soundtrack remains unblocked. )
Whatever smokaj0000 is doing, it is not producing content for human consumption. It is aggressively, chillingly ahuman, a machine signaling to machines for some algorithmic purpose whose human-centered antecedents are long lost. It is not even fake; it simply exists outside any realm where reality might matter.
"It is aggressively, chillingly ahuman, a machine signaling to machines for some algorithmic purpose whose human-centered antecedents are long lost. It is not even fake; it simply exists outside any realm where reality might matter."