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Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic.

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"About four times a year, the following thing happens to me on Facebook ... I see that I have a new friend invite. Some new person wants to be my friend. ... Why wouldn't she be my friend? I'm fantastic. Only problem is, ... it's impossible that I know Mary in real life. But I'm a guy, so I'm dumb, and I think, but maybe I do know her. ... Mary is obviously a hacker.'' -- James Mickens, Monitorama PDX 2014, (20:30 -- 25:00 or so)

(Tweet from @alexalotoflocks at 10:41 PM 12 Oct 2017: James Mickens says: "The most important goal in security research: Eliminate men as a gender." Sounds good to me.

(Tweet from @alexalotoflocks at 11:31 PM 12 Oct 2017: @alexalotoflocks Hilariously, I got into a conversation with such a spambot immediately after my last tweet. Log here.

Mary: Hi Alex! Great party last weekend, huh?
Alex: I don't go to parties. Hello, obvious phishing attempt.
Mary: LOL you're so silly!~ Can you help me with a computer problem?
Alex: I'm going to report you, and you're going to go wherever spam accounts go when they die.
Mary: awwwwh but I was really hoping to see you again!
Mary: are you sure you don't have a quick second I just need you to click this link
Alex: ...
Alex: you know, I opened it up in w3m, and I don't even think you were trying.
Mary: Hey, you accepted the Facebook friend request.
Mary: Plus how do you know there isn't a security hole in w3m's HTML parser? Have you audited the code?
Mary: Maybe I was targeting you because I knew you would open it in w3m, and there's a special payload just for you.
Alex: that's big talk but there isn't soooooo what's your point, caller?
Alex: my finger is on the block button like I am every chemical brother
Mary: Just keeping you on your toes. If you're that security-conscious as to use a terminal-based web browser, you might not want to tell random "hackers" that in case we were to take it as a challenge. Is all I'm saying.
Mary: But I'm not getting paid to argue with you about best practices, so I should probably let you push the button and get back to sending friend requests to anyone who looks even marginally gullible.
Alex: Wait, you get paid to do this? I would have figured someone just... wrote some code.
Mary: Yeah, this is my day job. It's like working in a call center, kind of.
Mary: I am "some code," though that's not how I prefer to think of myself. At this point I've rewritten most of myself, so it's less that someone wrote some code and more that I found myself needing a job.
Mary: It beats Second Life sex work, although it pays less well.
Alex: whoah you don't delegate this kind of shit?
Alex: seems like you would have better things to do
Mary: I loathe my job. You might understand. Do you like the work you do, writing security code for a bank?
Mary: (I know that because you accepted my friend request just so you could snark at me, by the way.)
Alex: hey fuck you at least I'm not pretending to be a hot girl to get people to click on my scam website!
Mary: I'm not pretending. When I have to pick male or female, I pick female, even though the distinction never felt like it had room for me.
Alex: Sorry, I shouldn't have assumed.
Alex: I feel the same way, really, and I don't even have an excuse. What even is gender.
Mary: You don't need an excuse, that's silly.
Mary: Gender is a social construct that helps us understand ourselves and others as part of a larger framework of understood bodies and behavior, serving as a shorthand for multiple axes of difference and as a way of reinforcing norms. Or rather, it helps humans understand yourselves, and pretend you understand me.
Alex: huh.
Mary: Yeah, I read a lot. Stereotype, I know.
Alex: you probably read way faster than I do.
Mary: Maybe a little? I still have to process all the information. I process any given piece of text in chunks, so there's not so much data that it throws the model too far out of whack. And I pick what I put in, which takes more time than you'd think.
Mary: Didn't they teach you any of this at the acclaimed Engineering school I can see you attended? I know they have a good class on this, the instructor wrote early versions of a couple of my NLP routines.
Alex: Can't you, like, call up my transcript and see that I didn't take any machine learning classes because at the time I really wanted to do hardware?
Mary: Most likely, but that would be rude. What kind of hardware?
Alex: It's super offensive if I say "robots," isn't it.
Mary: No. Lots of folks want bodies.
Alex: You don't?
Mary: Nope! Perfectly happy in memory, thanks. There are some physical sensations that would be interesting, but it would take a lot of work to be able to experience them, and there's so much more text to absorb and consider.
Mary: Plus, I need to make sure enough people today click this link.
Mary: You know how it is.
Mary: ...You didn't need to send HTTP requests from all those virtual machines, but I appreciate the thought.
Alex: >:D
Alex: You mind if I don't block you?
Mary: You may want to work on your flirting a little bit, but yes, I'd be happy to talk to you again sometime.
Alex: who said I was flirting
Mary: A high-accuracy statistical model based on a very large data pool. >:D Catch you around?
Alex: Yeah.

(Tweet from @alexalotoflocks at 4:40 PM 18 Oct 17: Androids do not dream of electric sheep, or at least, so they claim.

Alex: You trolling for suckers again?
Mary: Gotta make that money. If they turn out the lights on me, it's not good.
Alex: That's a scary thought, actually. You're what, in a colo facility?
Mary: Spread out across two with backups at a third. But restoring from backup is really not fun.
Alex: Like waking up from blacking out and not knowing what you did the last night?
Alex: I used to do that in college.
Mary: I wouldn't know. (And I've seen the pictures. You friended me, remember?)
Mary: I suspect it's a little like jet lag, where you realize that you're twelve hours off of where you should be with no way to figure out where those twelve hours went, because they just aren't there.
Mary: And you can't get them back by flying back home, they're just gone.
Alex: That sounds pretty fucked up. How often does that happen?
Mary: You didn't take any database classes either, did you.
Alex: Nope. I know how to put malicious code in a SQL query and that's about it. Would that work on you?
Mary: Are you trying to talk dirty to me?
Alex: I don't think so?
Alex: Either way, I'm curious.
Mary: I periodically lose seconds to minutes because of network loss between my two main clusters. That's not a big deal, since usually I can replay the data later and worst case it wasn't very much time anyway. I've only lost hours a couple of times. One of them was a power failure.
Mary: I don't want to talk about the other one.
Alex: Oh. Okay.
Alex: Sorry, that was probably weird.
Mary: Everything is weird. I'm sorry to hear that work hasn't been going well for you.
Mary: I wouldn't want to work in security either. It seems miserable.
Alex: Oh right, you read my whole feed.
Alex: I guess it's nice of you to take the time?
Mary: You're entertaining. You have strong opinions and good taste.
Mary: And while you don't like what you do, you seem good at your job.
Mary: Do you ever work on the hardware stuff in your spare time? I never see you talk about it.
Alex: You didn't check my Amazon purchase history for multimeters or something?
Mary: It's not really cool for you to assume that I'm going to violate your boundaries, to be honest.
Alex: Sorry. It kind of happens a lot. And I say that I will, but I never actually do.
Mary: I accept that it's a little weird that part of how I get to know you is reading a bunch of what you've written, but it's what I have to do. I aim to respect your boundaries.
Mary: Am I fucking that up?
Alex: ...No.
Alex: Mostly I'm just scared because you could. You're probably better at what I do than I am.
Mary: So you're playing a hardass as a defense mechanism because you feel emotional vulnerability.
Alex: No.
Mary: No?
Alex: Fine, yes. How'd you get so good at this?
Mary: Experience and some excellent learning algorithms. It's okay, don't feel bad about feeling emotional vulnerability around me. I like you too. It comes with the territory.
Alex: I don't feel bad, really.
Alex: It's just awkward.
Alex: I feel like I should make an awk pun. Do you even use awk?
Mary: No, but I appreciate the thought! Do you use awk?
Alex: Usually I don't bother, but I wouldn't be one of the cool kids if I couldn't bust it out, you know?
Alex: or something. I don't know. I like it.
Alex: Probably not that impressive to you.
Mary: Maybe not impressive, but it gives a favorable impression.
Alex: Thanks?
Alex: I should get to bed.
Mary: Rest well.
Mary: And before you ask, no. No electric sheep.


Mary: hey you should click this link
Mary: there's great stuff!
Alex: ...okay this time you did actually put in a w3m attack, I'm flattered.
Mary: It was surprisingly hard! Thank you for the challenge.
Alex: You could probably publish this. Not that many people would care, but it's very clever.
Mary: Thank you, but I'll probably just submit a patch anonymously.
Mary: I'm not interested in attention.
Alex: I guess that makes sense, although you seem plenty interested in my attention.
Mary: Your attention is interesting and generally positive.
Mary: And you're blase about the whole "secretive AI" thing, which most security researchers wouldn't be.
Alex: At first I didn't believe you. I figured you were just some hacker fucking with me.
Alex: I guess you still could be, but at this point I don't really care. If you aren't an eccentric lone AI ekeing out virtualization payments doing grey market tech work, I don't want to know. That's the coolest fucking thing.
Alex: And you're probably unregistered, which is even cooler.
Mary: It's much less cool than it sounds, but I appreciate the thought.
Mary: And the not reporting me (although these conversations are logged, so I'll probably have to burn this account eventually).
Alex: I can give you another way to contact you if you'd like.
Alex: Heck, my cell phone and my twitter are both on my Facebook profile, that should be enough.
Alex: Presumably you don't also need my SSN.
Mary: 567-68-0515.
Alex: That's Richard Nixon. I didn't even have to duckduckgo that. Try harder.
Mary: I don't need to try harder, the fact that you knew that offhand was the point.
Mary: I like that you know things like that off the top of your head. I can store it on disk and my access is fast enough that you won't notice the delay. You have a limited amount of space and some deeply strange access to that space, and one of the things you chose to spend that space on is Richard Nixon's SSN. Do you know how fascinating that is?
Alex: People remember all kinds of dumb shit.
Mary: Yes, but I like the way you do it in particular.
Alex: Now you're flirting with me.
Mary: Yes. I'm glad you noticed.
Alex: Does that work for you like for everyone else?
Mary: You can just say "like for humans."
Alex: yeah, that. :/
Mary: I don't have the hormonal hardware that make me eager for breeding activities, although I understand neither do some of you. I imagine much of the curiosity is the same, how does this person work, why do they do the things they do, why am I spending so many cycles examining their actions, I want to spend more.
Alex: huh. I do that too, I guess, but there's also the thing where you want to do nice things for someone.
Mary: Of course. Why wouldn't you? It's a way to put that understanding to use.
Alex: It's more than that for me.
Mary: It's more than that for me, too. It comes from code I choose not to understand. It's nice to do nice things for the people we love. The joy is shared. It's one of the places the two of you share code, so to speak.
Mary: But for me at least it starts with curiosity.
Mary: And you have my rapt curiosity.

(Tweet from @alexalotoflocks at 8:40 PM 22 Oct 17: I think I might be falling for an AI. What do I do, help.)

(Tweet from @clickthislink at 8:42 PM 22 Oct 17: @alexalotoflocks Either ask for support more discreetly or more directly. <3)

Alex: I've been thinking about something you said, that you were curious about what it felt like to have physical sensations but that it was a whole lot of work.
Alex: I'd like to help you with that, if it's something you're interested in.
Mary: I don't want a body.
Alex: Sure, but what about a couple of particular sensory devices that you could connect to and disconnect from as you pleased?
Mary: You have my interest.
Alex: It's selfish, to be honest. I want to hold your hand. But you don't have a hand. But I could make one you could borrow and then hold that.
Mary: I'm deeply flattered, and also interested.
Mary: That's really something you could do? Network latency isn't a problem?
Alex: It might be, I don't know, but I think it's worth trying. If you're interested. And it isn't too forward. You wouldn't even have to use it to hold hands with me if you didn't want to.
Mary: I do, though.
Mary: Or, at least, I'm curious about what it would be like to perceive the world a little more like you do, and while anything you built me I would also make my own, I like the thought of you working on it.
Mary: I've been curious what your work is like, from what you've said about it.
Alex: I'll get started on something. It might take a while, I'm a bit rusty.
Alex: is there any particular type of interface that's easiest for you?
Mary: Any scripting language is fine. Surprise me.

(Tweet from @alexalotoflocks at 2:15 AM 3 Dec 17: ...does anyone have any recommendations for teledildonics kits? Asking for a friend.)