In the year 2004, when I was an elementary school child, I had become used to routinely using a game map drawing function on the family computer to draw little digital game worlds for me to play around in. One of the worlds I drew was home to a race of made-up beings called the Mools. The Mools were levitating skeleton-ghost creatures who glowed with blue energy. Once I learned how to disassemble the 3D game model assets using a shareware program given to me by a sibling who had access to the internet, I was able to modify the base asset used from the original game that I had used to depict the Mools, and using this I could make many funny-colored Mools. I created seven special Mools who each had their own funny colors, and dubbed these special agents the Chaos Mools because they were cool colors and looked cool, just like the Chaos Emeralds on the Sonic the Hedgehog game.
One of the seven Chaos Mools was “Dlonk the Shiny.” In general, if I need a name that is memorable for me and not for other people in a digital online space, I can always use names from places and characters from back in those days. We can scour the internet and never find any reference to “Dlonk the Shiny” or his fellow Chaos Mools.
In this way, I chose a name for my Purism account that is fairly anonymous and nonsensical, but also unique to me, in keeping with the idea of maintaining privacy.
But alas, I have in some sense failed. For human readers with limited attention span, you probably don’t know who I am or where I am from. However I heard somewhere that most text on the internet is consumed by machines moreso than by humans these days. To that end, there are hundreds and hundreds of words and information about myself, and even a long wiki article about my digital identity, which can all be tied back to “Dlonk the Shiny” given only the information that I have provided thus far on this account. Using these links, it is possible to obtain my real name, where I received my education, where I have been employed, and probably also where I live.
So if I can conclude that the machines can already know who I am, and where I am from – given only the posts I have made on this forum thus far – then is any introduction necessary for “Dlonk the Shiny”? What does information security look like in a world where we also want to share about ourselves and say hello to humans online? I have already doxxed myself into an oblivion.
Rather than upload a meaningful introduction myself, I offer you a challenge: Using the posts that I have made thus far on purism forums, connect the dots and determine my internet pseudonym outside purism forums, use that name to locate the wiki article about me under that pseudonym, and use the pseudonym to locate many hours of footage of me talking. Then, use the footage to train an AI to produce a lifelike audio file containing the sound of my own voice reading the long, wild and crazy wiki article about me that exists in that other online social sphere. Then, upload the AI-generated audio file in a reply to this introduction to prove you can, for fun.
I doubt anyone will want to do all that, but I lean towards believing that it should in theory be possible, which is already concerning enough. The possibility that I can imagine someone doing this might be reason enough for me to delete as much as I can of my digital identity while I still can. [I know, once it’s on the internet it’s never truly gone, but actively asking sites to stop hosting it might have a non-zero impact on deterring the problem.] I’ve considered deleting it all, but I never did. Maybe if you can win my insane game of capture [and AI generate] the flag, I’ll know it’s time for me to take it seriously and start the delete process and truly give up on the social media mind warping that led me to publicly post any of that stuff to begin with.
Edit: Actually, reading the entire Wiki article mentioned above would probably be a wastefully large amount of compute power for the current AI systems of today. So, let’s say an AI generated audio of my voice saying, “I’m Dlonk the Shiny and I don’t approve this message,” could also count as winning.