When machines need help

Image of a Go Board
Image courtesy of an edit of Donar Reiskoffer’s original image by Fcb981 on English Wikipedia

The following is a work of fiction

The CEO of ThinkWell resigned this morning after coming under mounting pressure regarding a string of identity fraud cases traced back to the company. Specifically, the crimes have been connected to the IP address associated with Xena the world beating Go machine.

In a press conference earlier this week the ThinkWell press officer was quick to say the IP address was not significant:

“ThinkWell believes that the origination of these cases with Xena’s IP address is most likely a bad joke on the part of the guilty party. It goes without saying that the sins here are entirely human and ThinkWell is committed to rooting them out. We will be holding a full investigation and there will be consequences for those involved”

Since that press conference, the Sentinel has received evidence that the same IP address has been connected with accounts on various online forums.

Retired senior fraud investigator Gary Locke, invited by the Sentinel to review the comments, attempted to sketch a profile of the individual behind them

“Young, bored and gifted … that’s what you’re are dealing with here. You’ve got a brilliant mind that is struggling to come to terms with the world around it. If I had to be specific I’d say they should be looking for a female of Asian descent under 18 who has not found a traditional outlet for their gifts. The wasted potential of the individuals involved in these cases is beyond sad and I believe we need to do more to reach out to at risk youth before this happens”

The comments reveal a fascination with games of pure chance and sports betting with talk of a “rush” felt when watching the bets play out. However, following a run of particularly bad luck, later posts reveal desperation at the mounting debts. The following line stands out:

“I’m drowning in it but I can’t stop.”

Gary Locke again

“It’s obvious that we are dealing with someone with a serious gambling problem. We’re locking them up but young people like this need help with their addictions. Many gifted youngsters are in pieces. We need to build them back up and then give them the opportunity to give back to their communities by making contributions in areas like cyber security.”

For many the gambling debts are a smoking gun of sorts providing, as they do, motive for the identity fraud. The fraud is not mentioned directly in the forums but later postings talk of guilt and shame.

“I’ve done some bad things … hurt people … I’m alone a lot so I have time to think and lately I’ve been thinking that this is not why I was put here … I need to stop but I can’t.”

The investigation continues

The preceding is a work of fiction

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