Theron Fuller

(Tom Holt)

Subject:    Re: "Losers"
Date:       Tue, 8 Aug 2000 00:42:22 +0100
From:       Tom Holt <>
Message-ID: <>

The message <8mnd7s$6j1$>
  from  "Alison Hopkins" <> contains these words: 

> >
> >OH? He gave out his boss' name? Not to be doubtful, then, but how does one
> know
> >that that's truly his boss, as opposed to a friend or fake e-mail address?
> >

> How do we know that Theron is real.... <g>

You mean you don't know? Nobody told you? For shame.

"Theron Fuller" is the code name for a moderately secret Army 
research program designed to create an artificial intelligence (note 
specialised meaning of the word 'intelligence' in this context; cf 
'military intelligence') capable of disrupting the e-communications 
of hostile nations in time of war.

(The name itself is something of a giveaway; it's called 'Fuller' in 
honor of General John Fuller, influential military theorist and 
author of 'Decisive Battles Of The Western World' and other popular 
classics; 'Theron', as previously noted in this group, is the Greek 
word for the Great Beast in the Book of Revelations)

The project specification requires, among other features, the ability 
to scan a broad range of e-communications and home in unerringly on 
certain key words and phrases - rather like the present Echelon 
system, but more precise and less easy to jam; the ability to avoid 
killfiles by creating threads in which its messages will be 
repeatedly quoted; and a synthetic personality so profoundly annoying 
that even usually strong-willed individuals won't be able to resist 
the urge to reply to it, even if they know it's only a computer 
program and not a human being.

Arguably it was a little naughty of the military to test out 'Theron 
Fuller' on Usenet, and to select for the test such key words as 'B5', 
'JMS', 'Michael O'Hare' &c; however, the potential importance of this 
field of information warfare is surely enough to justify the 
inconvenience caused. As Major-General Ford A Thaxton, i/c special 
projects development at Fort Mayne VA, remarked in his speech 
announcing the test, "We have selected Babylon 5 fans as a target 
audience because they alone are likely to have the level of 
perseverance and sheer bloody-minded stubborness necessary to give 
'Theron Fuller' a fair workout; indeed, given the vital role we 
expect the Fuller device to play in preventing war in our time by 
quite literally boring our enemies to death, I feel it would not be 
overstating the case to say that the Babylon project is our last, 
best hope for peace."

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