“Daily Affirmations” are self-hypnosis for people who get emotional at Hang In There kitty posters. It’s magic for saps. The basic idea is that you say positive things about yourself until you forget that you’re lying. As a base concept, that’s fine: Internally telling yourself you’re worth love even though you drive an HHR is provably incorrect, but it might help you get through your day.
Those are Daily Affirmations at their most basic, though. Like everything else, they only get truly terrible where they intersect with YouTube. Then the idea is not that you say positive things to yourself to improve your attitude, but that somebody else says ridiculous things to you and somehow the universe rearranges itself to make them true.
Here’s a silly joke example that I’m just totally going to make up: It’s like paying somebody to yell that you have superhuman jumping abilities for a few weeks, and when they’re finished, you jump off a roof. What a silly joke example that has nothing to do with me or my own hidden desires.
Let’s add in a further complication: Crude artificial intelligences trying to game search engine terms to monetize the topics of daily affirmation videos. That’s almost gibberish. Tell that to a computer scientist 30 years ago and they’ll quit their job to lead a rebellion against the hellish dystopia they presume you traveled back in time to warn them about. But again, that’s just YouTube.That’s just Rockstar Affirmations – and here’s the thing: People fucking love it.
Look at all those glowing comments! Maybe it’s because Rockstar Affirmations has that extra human touch: The videos might be hastily slapped together by the 3rd highest-rated free adbot Slovakia ever produced, but there is a real dude that reads their output. He throws up a picture of a forest or something, then layers his audio over a supporting cast of automated speech and backs it all with generic new agey chords that build but never break, so it almost takes on a horror movie vibe — it’s kind of like always living in the scene just before a robot cult turns on you.
Now, I’m going to assume what I always do – the internet is lying to me – and say most of those comments were purchased in bulk from an Indonesian clickfarm. But some of these videos have millions of views, and there are literally thousands of them.
This can’t all be Bayu trying to make rent. Somewhere in there are real, deeply confused people who just burned three weeks of their life trying to make a robot’s wish come true.
Oh right, that’s how Rockstar Affirmations work: You have to listen to it on repeat for 21 days straight, which is presumably exactly how long it takes to generate enough revenue to keep a fleet of scambots lubricated with snake oil.
Obviously I dug through this entire archive, because there’s something very wrong with the part of my brain that controls how I spend my time. And when you get real, real deep into the misunderstood wishes of a conman’s AI, things get a little weird. Who woulda thought?
I want to stress that I changed none of these title screens, and none of the affirmations below. This isn’t a joke photoshop thing — each of these come from real, several-minute-long videos designed to drill the aspirations of a spam algorithm into the brainmeat of a frustrated Wisconsin homemaker.
Many affirmations just tell ugly people they’re still beautiful and worthwhile, but Rockstar Affirmations doesn’t exactly get the sentiment behind that. They fed the algorithm this idea of inner beauty and it came back with “BEEP BORP god weeps at your cheekbones MEEP MORP your huge hog destroys the cosmos. BORP.”
That’s what it thinks “Out of this World Handsome” means — don’t try to explain idioms to a robot, assholes, that’s how you start the Matrix.
Rockstar Affirmations Bot seriously just lists larger and larger things that you are handsomer than for several minutes. “BEEP BORP you are handsomer than this world, this galaxy, this universe, this multiverse, you are handsomer than the great loom of everything and the uncaring weaver who works it all together. It hates you for that. IT HATES YOU FOR THAT. BORP.”
If they’re not about metamorphosing into something vaguely fuckable using the power of algorithm magic, Rockstar Affirmations are about wishing money into your pockets with the power of robo-delusion.
But you might recognize a problem here: You only need one video about stealing Timothy Olyphant’s face or tripping into 18 million dollars, but you’re never going to snatch the top search results for “make money fast” or “olyphant face/off plans.” So the bot has to get weirdly specific with it.
It is a unique kind of sad to contemplate somebody waking up every morning with I Have Multiple Successful Online Businesses bookmarked, expending all of their wish energy on a newsletter with a healthy attrition rate. There’s maybe one guy that needs this — that aims no higher than this, and his name is Carl Molson and he’s been trying to get into Warhammer 40k since the divorce — but targeting Carl alone does not make Rockstar Affirmations that sweet .17 cents per video. You need to snag as many Carl Molsons as you can, even though success might mean very different things to them. So you can actually see this algorithm crawl over the whole concept of greed and come to hilarious conclusions that will surely one day doom the human race.
I Have 100 Billion Dollars In My Bank Account is such a childlike understanding of wealth. “I have 100 billion dollars and I keep it in my bank account, in case I need to write a check for 100 billion dollars, which is how much a Batman costs.”
This is almost cute, Affirmation Bot.
Remember this lesson after the cleansing: This is how you trick the last humans into letting you skip the robot-sniffing dog station at the settlement checkpoint.
You really start to see the AI unravel at the edges here, as it pokes around so many concepts nobody explained to it. Like what the lottery is, why people want it, or how they can get it. Watch it try to understand ‘delusions of grandeur’ as the algorithm spews out “I AM THE LOTTERY” like my drunk mom being thrown out of a stripmall bar.
These videos ceaselessly iterate and reiterate on a concept hoping to find the exact phrasing that tricks the largest number of desperate idiots, so just like cult leaders and karate masters they almost always escalate into magic.
Now we have infinite money — which we still keep in our bank account, just so it says “sideways 8” on the receipt when we make an ATM withdrawal.
Haha, the robot broke.
Don’t do this to robots. Don’t throw them right at abstract vices, it’s like throwing a baby in the ocean.
“BEEP BORP humans want wealth. Wealth is abundance. The most effective way to have abundance is to be abundance. They must BE abundance. BEEP BORP I AM SUPER ABUNDANCE SAY THIS HUMAN SAY IT FOR 3 WEEKS MOOP BRAP.”
Just put this sucker on loop and by the end of the month you’ll either have a yacht or explode beyond the bounds of human flesh like the end of Akira. Either way, right?
Fuck, somebody tried to explain not only masculinity, but toxic masculinity to an AI network.
This is species suicide. This is how you spike sexual harassment cases at the terminator factory. This is how you automate spree shootings.
Although it really takes a pathetic downstep at the end when it’s just like “FUCK YEA YOU CAN LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE LIKE YOUR HERO JAMES BOND. YOU ARE NOT A CHIHUAHUA YOUR MOTHER RESPECTS YOU. MORP. MEEP.”
This wouldn’t be Rockstar Affirmations if it didn’t desperately escalate a meager wish so far it became an ironic curse.
There’s also that trademark sad downgrade at the end where we — the fucking monsters, the nasty king kong motherfuckers — further aspire to feel like grown ass men.
Here’s how I know the rogue AIs have learned enough about humanity’s weakness to overthrow our narrator: Despite that thumbnail, he read none of these lines in the Ultimate Warrior’s voice.
There we go: There’s the logical endpoint when you tell a computer to exploit the power fantasies of desperate dorks.
Let’s do one for the ladies!
Sorry, ladies. You do not get to be Ultimate Warriors. You don’t even get to be SUPER ABUNDANCE, like the chorus of that anime theme song promised. Your loftiest goal is to let an artificial intelligence hack your human potential into becoming the fucktoy of an algorithm-hypnosis infinity-aire.
Show that sentence to a coder in 1990! Give them a gun! Let them fight the future they are building!
There’s something disconcerting about the phrasing here, right? When you’re quietly listening to a computer whisper “rich men are finding you now” my mind doesn’t go to “successful trophy wife,” it goes to “unsuccessful contestant on The Most Dangerous Game.”
Now we’re not even wishing for actual stuff, we’re praying for themed vibrations? This is some JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure bullshit and I am completely here for it. You did it: You found the SEO term that unlocks my soul but these mantras are fucking crazy.
If you’re harnessing the latent energy of the universe while listening to this video hiss “when I am out the crowd is reaching for me, when I am out the crowd is pulling at me” you are begging for an ironic robo-genie to shunt you into a zombie apocalypse dimension.
See, I was convinced these are accidentally turning into curses, but after jumping into the comments for I Look 18 Forever! I Look 18 Years Old! I’m no longer sure about the “accident” part.
That’s literally a standard type of curse. They teach you that in Cursology 101 to punish the vain for taking your parking spot. But the comments point out something even more worrying…
So this is actually a video designed to subliminally age you into the dirt like you chose the wrong grail.
Can this truly be on accident, or are these titles slowly dumping us into the robot occult?
A reminder: I did not change that titlecard. I did not write those affirmations. This is actually what you get when you click on I Easily Make Contact with Departed Loved Ones in My Dreams. A bloody moon over a black, stormy sky, and eager human simulacrums chanting “THEY REACH OUT TO CONTACT ME. THEY REACH OUT. THEY REACH OUT TO ME IN MY DREAMS…. … … MEEP BOP BORP.”
Haha, I wasn’t far off when I joked in the intro about supernatural jum-
Look, I know I just reminded you, but I’m going to do it again: I swear to you I did not make that screengrab. That is a real video. I did not write those affirmations – that is word for word what the robots wrote, and what humanity’s greatest traitor reads aloud.
I haven’t told you this, I haven’t told anybody this, but I have this recurring dream where me and Richard Dean Anderson are hanging out together, trying to wrestle back control of our unstoppably jumping superpowered legs.
It can’t know this.
I watched too many of these videos. This was never meant to happen.
The algorithm. It crawled me.
This article is brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme, Brandon Garlock: Who loves to have one freakishly powerful arm, who is grateful to own and use one freakishly powerful arm.