A Word About pzbooks and Molenbeek

Two days before the Nov 13th Paris attacks the twitter account @pzbooks tweeted what appeared to be a prediction, getting false-flaggists in a twist.

pzbooks predicts paris attacks

We do not embed the tweet because the account has since been suspended. (see update below for latest)

The number of interactions shows how wide-spread this tweet became (after the attacks) and it has quickly entered into conspiracy yore as “foreknowledge”.

It is, in our estimation, an experimental AI Software Bot. It scrapes news headlines from the Internet, parses them as Chomsky Grammars, then creates new headlines using Markov Chains. At least, that’s how we’d do it.

We’re surmising this because, as webmasters, we are very familiar with such things from spam-bots that try to post comments on our websites. The idea is to produce text that looks like it was written by a person. In spite of self-driving happy AI tales you get from the MSM, spam-bots pretty much represent the cutting-edge of AI. We are constantly fighting them off.

The AI bots on twitter are a little different to spam-bots. We know of several similar to @pzbooks and follow any that we find. They try to engage users in conversation.

Artifical Inteligence (AI)

Our own investigations of some AI bots (not pzbooks) led us to a University in Italy, but as we have no definite proof we choose to name neither the University nor the bots. It would seem to us a little unethical for a public University to exploit Twitter users to test their algorithms. That is something they should be paying student volunteers to do. A place of learning should strive to maintain better standards than Ashley Madison.

We don’t know if the @pzbooks account was a research bot or if it was just run by an amateur. Time may tell. It did not appear to be trying to sell anything, so we’ve ruled out spam.

What is most certainly was not, was fore-knowledge. Neither is it likely that somebody “changed the date”, as has been suggested, since this would break a fundamental feature of Twitter’s application.

It was not even coincidence. In its timeline were many identical copies of the same headline, but with different city names. So it was inevitable that it would get one “right”. Beyond that, it simply isn’t worth looking in to.

Nevertheless, we fully expect this incident to rise up to the level of the BBC having foreknowledge of the WTC7 collapse in conspiracy yore – and the chap who freaks out over it just hasn’t passed The Turing Test.

Other News – Molenbeek

Meanwhile, the continent of Europe now wishes to unite with Brussels and dump its problems on #Molenbeek. Molenbeek, like so many other places, has gained its reputation precisely from this kind of simplistic approach. The one that involves, as always, pointing fingers at a minority and blaming all our own problems on them.

We always found it a great place. Markets, bars, cafes, and the only people who think of it as a “no-go zone” are those who don’t go there. It’s telling that when we were first in Brussels, and many others have had the same experience, we were told “don’t go to Molenbeek, it’s the immigrant area“.

Well I’m an immigrant as well, so it sounds like my kind of place. Or do you mean I shouldn’t go there because I’m white? Is that what you meant? If so, say so. Then at least I can say goodbye to you and go find some more friendly people over there.”

Molenbeek shares with many other municipalities that distinction of representing all those things about ourselves and our own decrepit consumer society that we’d rather not face up to: Unemployment, drugs, racism, inequality, poverty, and dispossesion. We dump them in the toxic waste part of town and hope they will go away.

Turning Molenbeek into an EU basic-wage experimental area and giving everybody there €1,000 per month might be a better way to start fixing things. Because the other method is on a trajectory towards no-fly-zones and barrel bombs.

Update 17-11-2015
The pzbooks account has been restored by Twitter, vindicating our analysis above.

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