DAILY PHOTO: Chimpanzee Standing Watch

Taken on October 3, 2014 in the Mysore Zoo.

Taken on October 3, 2014 in the Mysore Zoo.

TODAY’S RANT: Viral Video Advertising

I recently saw this posted on Facebook. I, being a doofus, believed I had stumbled upon the black box recording that would show archaeologists the moment it all went sour for the human race– the dawn of the rise of the apes. As soon as our self-aware brethren learn to take our technology and use it against us, we are surely doomed. Being damned dirty, the apes will own humans. [Participle dangle intended.]

Of course, I felt compelled to do a Snopes check because– believe it or not– sometimes people put things on the internet which are fake. I know, I know, hard to believe.

It turns out the video is a piece of viral advertising for the next Planet of the Apes movie. “Lesser” primate use of technology is still about right here:

Viral advertising is the latest craze. One leaks intriguing footage onto YouTube and doesn’t label it or say what it is.  Then you hope a bunch of schmucks fall for it, and they will– because that’s the defining characteristic of we schmucks. It’s tautological.  This kind of video will stick in one’s mind and get more media attention than would a regular trailer.

The problem is that movie-makers have the ability to make really convincing fakes. (That’s what they do.) My well-read reader will certainly have heard of the Orson Welles War of the Worlds incident. People who didn’t hear the beginning of the broadcast, which was formatted like a news bulletin, freaked out about the alien invasion. Some people jumped out windows (why, I have no idea. I don’t think they thought the value of that through.) Some people fled to Canada (assuming, of course, that the aliens wouldn’t be interested in that icy wasteland.)

My problem with all this isn’t that people are duped; it’s the “boy who cried wolf” effect. One day when we’re under attack by aliens, apes, or artificial intelligence, people are going to be like, “Dude, that’s a really convincing looking ray-gun… NOT!”