The Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance. The purchases have all been compiled for an art show in Zurich, Switzerland titled The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland, which runs through January 11.

The concept would be all gravy if not for one thing: the programmers came home one day to find a shipment of 10 ecstasy pills, followed by an apparently very legit falsified Hungarian passport– developments which have left some observers of the bot’s blog a little uneasy.

If this bot was shipping to the U.S., asks Forbes contributor and University of Washington law professor contributor Ryan Calo, who would be legally responsible for purchasing the goodies? The coders? Or the bot itself?

App store ranking manipulation employee

A photo, tweeted on Weibo, of a woman sitting in front of an array iPhone 5Cs, with the caption app store ranking manipulation employee offers a glimpse of the workforce behind online Chinese services, that for a high price, can get you into the top ten rankings of the iTunes app store. The woman’s job would be to download, install, and uninstall specific apps over and over again to boost App Store rankings. Some IOS developers are also known to fraudulently use bots to do this


Twitter-bot death threats and the police

Jeffry Van Der Goot had a twitter-bot that was a Markov-ebooks type, remixing his own personal twitter profile, “it takes all my tweets I’ve ever made, takes random chunks of it and tries to make new sentences that make sense”. The bot somehow rearranged his words in a way that would read as a death threat. That ‘death-threat’ tweet also mentioned a twitter user: another bot, making it sound like the bot was sending a death-threat to another bot. The police detected the death threat and visited the programmer, to investigate the threat. After having to explain that the bot is not him, and that the sentences are semi-random and generative, the police stated that it was his responsibility… “But apparently *I’m* responsible for what the bot says, since it’s under my name and based on my words.”


Google Translate Bot Discussion

We fed our phones one random sentence, using the impromptu text-to-speech translation feature within the Google Translate app. Then left them to discuss…

The kept talking for 15 minutes and more if left alone. The messages were from completely senseless to utterly terrifying. (e.g. “I am aware of who I am’)

[via interweb3000]

A robot deployed on the dark web over the past few weeks has bought a pair of fake Diesel jeans, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, a stash can, a pair of Nike trainers, a decoy letter (used to see if your address is being monitored), 200 Chesterfield cigarettes, a set of fire-brigade issued master keys, a fake Louis Vuitton handbag, and 10 ecstasy pills. Who is legally liable?