Updated Visitors to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) tech jamboree have been having a rough old time of it, with what appears to be protests from the locals and a sneaky spam problem on Tinder.
On Sunday a group of hipsters took to the streets of Austin, Texas, to protest what they see as reckless and potentially dangerous advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.
Known as Stop the Robots, the group describes itself as being dedicated to "using technology for good and understanding the true risks that artificial intelligence poses to humanity." The small group marched past SXSW in matching t-shirts, and with hand-drawn signs to make their point.
"This is is about morality in computing," event organizer Adam Mason told USA Today
The group cites among its inspirations recent quotes from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The billionaire tech mogul recently admitted to having some fears for mankind's future with the increasing development of AI technologies.
On a more immediate threat, SXSW attendees should be wary of a heart-breaking flirtbot making the rounds on Tinder. As part of a promotion for a film, marketers have created a fake profile based on its robotic protagonist and spammed it out on the hookup service.
An attractive 25-year-old called "Ava" started appearing on local Tinder accounts, using a picture of the film's protagonist Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. Users report being courted by the bot on Tinder who, after a brief chat-up with would-be partners, directs users to an Instagram page promoting the film. ®
It is now reported that the protest was an ironic demonstration or, as overpaid marketing consultants like to call it, a "viral" campaign for (yet another) mobile dating app. We will not be naming or linking to said app, as it would only encourage this sort of behavior going forward. The stunt was not related to the Tinder campaign spam.