FaceBook has decided I’m Buffalo Bill. Not the Wild West version but the serial killer from the Silence of the Lambs. Jame Gumb who keeps women in his basement until they’re ready to be skinned for his woman suit.

“It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.”

Truth is I’d probably have a hard time getting a woman out of my basement. Clarice Starling would come to the rescue and the biggest complaint would be that I insisted on the lazy version of a lobster dinner because it isn’t as messy. So how did Facebook decide I’d be interested in the rather unusual combination of combat knives, plus sized women’s clothing and doggy sweaters?

The answer is found in looking at the analytical engines uses by Facebook and almost every other major player on the internet. They just aren’t very good yet. They’re about as smart as Eugene Goostman the chatbot who didn’t actually pass the Turing test. Like Eugene they succeed when very bright people game the results. Creating a wish book for a serial killer is an example of where where they fail horribly.

I think I can live without a bot calling the SWAT team to my house. There are killers out there who would actually be interested in combat knives, women’s clothes and dog sweaters. Thomas Harris based Buffalo Bill on real people. Jerry Brudos or Ed Gein would have had a delightful time browsing knives and sexy size twelve patent leather pumps. The problem is any time I wrote a murder mystery story the cops would show up at my door looking for someone like that. They’ve already shown up twice for a cell phone malfunction and both times the assumption was that I was holding myself hostage. Imagine what they’d be like responding with a notation: He likes combat knives, women’s clothes and dog sweaters. I’d probably be Tasered before they searched the house for victims.

Facebook doesn’t have any kind of reputation for being ethical. They’ve just recently been caught subjecting users to a mood altering experiment that once only the most warped minds of the CIA could have come up with. It’s a kind of corporate wet dream to use these ubiquitous online quizzes to profile a user and then control them with words used as weapons. Like in Max Barry’s book Lexicon only with AI replacing the magic language skills.

The day that FaceBook, Amazon, or any other company, presents me with a wish list that actually matches the real hidden desires of my quirky mind I’m shutting off the computer. Eugene Goostman will have a hard time getting to me when I’m using my old Remington manual typewriter.



It’s speculation but the data mining that resulted in my serial killer wish list may have been these searches.

1. Looking for a new cane. There’s some fun canes with dragon head handles and some with swords inside them. I don’t need a sword cane but I looked at it.

2. Looking for summer sandals. I may have clicked onto a page of women’s shoes with my man sized foot listed. It’s hard to tell with sandals. The adbot must have thought I was looking for Kinky Boots

3. Well I do have a dog and she is spoiled but she’d probably bite me and move out if I tried to put a sweater on her.