Ted (merovingian) wrote,
Ted
merovingian

Lying in the Gutter Gazing at the Stars

So, I don't mean to bore you with work talk, but I've recently taking a job selling orreries door-to-door in small California towns. The hours are flexible, and the product is selling like hotcakes, but there's one problem. It doesn't pay in money. Only in jetpacks. I now have three jetpacks, and have to scrape together money for fuel.

Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning all of this is to lead into the weird thing I've been seeing, and what I found out about it. For the past two weeks or so, there have been these crazy billboards. There's different ones in various small towns, and I've had no idea what they're supposed to advertise. Here's a few samples:

"NOW MAN THE TO AND KNOW"
"STREET RIVER OF FOREHEADS BE"
"LYING AND WHO AND THE THE DOGS"

Needless to say, I was confused. So, I grabbed my handy jetpack and zoomed up to the people responsible for this!

ZOOM!

Turns out, it was the same guy who had been working on the neural network elevator. His latest idea was genetic-algorithm advertisements. Turns out all of the advertisements listed were actually for dish soap.

Every California town with a population under 14,000 had a single billboard placed in a prominent area, and consumption of the advertised brand of dish-soap was measured. Initial slogans on the billboards were randomly generated, but each week, the feedback loop would collect data on which areas had an increase in dish soap consumption, and based on this data, new, slightly "evolved" slogans would be generated and sent out. Within a few years, the theory goes, dish soap advertisement billboards would be perfected, far superior to those that could be designed by mere human creativity.

I quit my job immediately. With genetic-algorithm dish soap ads, who needs orreries?

With genetic-algorithm dish soap ads, who needs orreries?

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