Okay, this one is going to take some explaining. Mutekimaru Channel is a Japanese YouTube user, with a popular livestream where his pet fish play Pokemon. Yes, you read that right. A motion-tracking circuit board set next to the tank is divided up into different sections, each one representing a specific video game controller input. As a fish swims by that section of the board, the fish “plays” that particular action. All of this is live-streamed to an audience who get to watch the fish battle their Pokemon.

Sounds fun, and like nothing could possibly go wrong, right? Here’s where chaos theory, or at least Jurassic Park’sLife finds a way” comes into play.

At some point, the game crashed, and the fish found themselves in the Nintendo Switch’s menu. Swimming patterns brought them to the Nintendo Store, where not only did they purchase some items, but they exposed the owner’s credit card information to the viewing audience in the process.

There’s a lesson in here about AI and our community’s increasing efforts to automate processes, but I’ll leave that up to the reader. Potential consequences may involve having to write a letter to customer service asking, “I am very sorry, but is it possible to get a refund for items purchased in error by my pet fish?”

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


1 Thought on "The Dangers of Automation: Keep Your Pokemon-playing Fish Away from Your Credit Cards"

Hahaha. Those crazy cyber goldfish. The subtitles pretty much cover it, but if anyone has any questions about the Japanese, please feel free to ask us and we’ll do our best to explain.

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