Bots + Beer

Chatbots, artificial intelligence, cyberspace... and beer.

Max Headroom Hacker

When we started the Bots + Beer newsletter, I had a goal of releasing an issue every three weeks. Time constraints, and just the desire to put out good content that was more than an aggregator, has limited it to monthly (sometimes less), so I've been thinking of ways to supplement the newsletter without littering your inbox.

That's where this email is coming from. It's a little bit of a behind-the-scenes and a little bit of an extension--offering supplemental material for episode 048 of the podcast.

The other difference between this and the standard newsletter is that not everyone is getting it. I won't be tweeting out the Mailchimp link, and the email is only being sent to a subset of the mailing list: Those rated as highly engaged by Mailchimp. Let me know if this offers any value or entertainment to you, and if so, maybe we'll keep doing random supplements like this.

Anyway, if you haven't caught the latest episode of the podcast, you can find more details in the block below. Bill was itching to do a Max Headroom episode, and was curious as to why a reboot has never been discussed with the current 80's nostalgia. Max was a highly experimental creation that blended music, artificial intelligence, and cyberpunk, and the end result was much more subversive than any of us remember thanks to New Coke commercials.

The craziest part of Max Headroom's legacy might be the Chicago television hacks in 1987. With no engineers on duty, a hacker was able to place an antenna dish between the transmitter tower and the transmission. The hacker was never caught.

The signal intrusion actually occurred twice for short bursts, and the videos were chaotic and a bit creepy. The hacker wore a Max Headroom mask, and clearly wasn't sure what to do with his or her newly discovered power, but the disorganization of the hacks made it all the more interesting.

There was some speculation about who the hacker might have been, but no definitive evidence was ever acquired. The FCC was, however, able to determine the location where the videos might have been recorded because of visual clues in the material.

In my opinion, using a Max Headroom mask would be far more appropriate for hacktivism than a V for Vendetta one. --Michael Szul
Speaking of Max Headroom and New Coke

Thanks to Stranger Things and 80's nostalgia, it looks like Coca-Cola is actually selling some New Coke as part of a promotional campaign for the Netflix show. It was some interesting synchronicity that I found out about 2 days after we launched the Max Headroom episode. --MS

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