I am not a robot.



As I was logging into an online account, the Captcha made me pause for a moment. You had to check a box that said you weren't a robot.

Russian bots, robots, whatever.

I've become very used to checking a box regarding whether or not I'm a robot, I thought. Several times a week, in fact, most of us are asked to verify our status on whether or not we are an automaton.



I'm not a Calvinist. I have free will. I usually just check the box with confidence knowing I'm not a robot, getting on with business behind the login screen. Most of the time.

But this time, I started to think philosophically about the matter.

Am I a robot?

Could I become one?

Would I know if I was one?

Should I take the Turing test?

Or should I put more weight on John Searle's Chinese Room experiment?


The Turing test is in regards to artificial intelligence, and is used to determine if a machine is human-like, or at least can convince another person that it is human in its responses. The Chinese room experiment, on the other hand, says that a programmed computer, no matter how seemingly human its responses are, can't be said to have a mind or consciousness. These are brutish descriptions of the two, but you get the general idea. Does it seem human? Or, does it matter if it seems human if it is merely programmed to respond?

This led to some consideration of the current pandemic with the new coronavirus/Wuhan Virus/Chinese Virus/SARS-CoV-2/EconomyDestroyer, its origins, and some responses I've seen online to articles, updates, and government press updates on Facebook live.

Because the question here is whether or not the people on the internet are robots.

So far, I can't give you a solid answer on what I think on this. I read some of the responses and I can't say they pass the Turing test of seeming human or intelligent. Others are so predictable, almost programmatic and making little sense in the scheme of things, that I'm thinking the Chinese room experiment is legit.

Governor on live video: (answers question on number of coronavirus tests available)

Comment 1: What about daycare?!

Comment 2: TRUMP DID THIS HE'S THE STUPIDEST PRESIDENT EVER! BERNIE!

Comment 3: wat are the symptoms of the virus, anyone know where I can find out

Comment 4: you idiots should of called school off in january

Comment 5: I presented with cough three weeks ago I called and they wouldn't test me

Comment 6: Stop calling it the coronavirus! Call it Covid-19!

(ad naseum)


Nonsensical responses that seem inhuman. Pre-programmed knee-jerk responses. Unrelated. Difficult to follow. Etcetera and whee. Do you really want true democracy, or is a Constitutional republic still a solid for you?

I would like to confidently say that I am not a robot, but sometimes I'm pretty robotic in my thinking. I suppose that's partly a survival mechanism; you have to automate your thinking on some things because the decision overload would be immense. The trick to that automation is who you let program you. Is it the media? Bad friends? God?

It really matters. Some robots are Wall-E, and some are the Terminator. Big difference.

So with all of that in mind, what happens when you realize you might be a robot? Can you still login to your online banking?

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