Elon’s AI letter this week mentioned a “incident” that might “scare us all enough” to give AI a Digital Summer. Could AI be planning that for April Fools’ Day?
Sounds good because, I’m about out of hoaxes and pranks.
Most know April 1 as an annual holiday celebrated around the world, known for pranking and hoaxing. Although the tradition dates back centuries, the exact origins of the holiday remains a mystery. The most popular origin story blames France for the genesis of April Fools’ Day, as they changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1582. Some people either didn’t know about the new calendar or didn’t like it, causing them to celebrate the new year on April 1. To get everyone back in line, people started mocking calendar-truthers and playing tricks on them. This evolved into the French April 1 prank of affixing a paper fish to someone’s back, which is still practiced today. However, the first written reference to April Fools’ Day dates back to 1561, decades before the calendar change in France, making the origin story doubtful.
The key to a good hoax is that someone is at an information disadvantageIn modern days, I have had my girlfriend’s dog arrested for being rude by a warden named… Bill Warden. I have awarded a driving permit by Zoom during Covid, and received a citation from the DOJ for illegal haircuts, and took the news that half my family was moving to Montana without me.
The ancient Romans had a similar holiday, where people imitated anyone they wanted on a particular day of the year, including government officials. This day was called Hilaria, and it was part of a 10-day festival to honor Cybele, the mother of the gods. The evidence for this theory seems shaky, as the connection to pranks and hoaxes is tenuous. It is uncertain when or where April Fools’ Day originated, but by the late 1600s, it was firmly established in Europe.
I can’t wait to see what AI is cooking up for us today.