Reply Bots Selling Mugs With Garbled AI Nonsense on Them

Mugging in Progress

Sometimes the reply bots imitate AI bots, creating the dumbest tchotchkes imaginable.

No website is better suited to facilitate this unholy fusion than X, formerly Twitter, where countless fake accounts sell drop-shippable merch like T-shirts and mugs with artwork scraped from the web.

These bots aren't a new problem. But now, thanks to the proliferation of AI-generated images, the machines can get caught in a feedback loop in which they end up selling crude copies of an AI's botched imitation of human art.

One example of this to go viral recently is this image, which features a clearly AI-generated Princess Leia from "Star Wars" holding a very peculiar mug. It reads (and no, this is not a typo): "Help Me Coffee You'ry're My Only Hope!"

A bot in the replies links to a purchasable version of the mug on "" (again, that's really it's name) that faithfully reproduces the "You'ry're" — the kind of high quality commodity you can only get from the tech industry's favorite plaything. Maybe there's some ironic novelty to be found in owning that.

"The world is a dead thing, with nothing inside it," lamented one observer.

Generative Grift

This was an accident, but deliberately selling AI-generated mugs is somewhat of a notable side hustle (or at least according to the people whose side hustle is telling other people about side hustles). There's certainly no shortage of them on marketplaces like Etsy.

From a grindset point of view, it makes sense. Inputting a prompt in something like Midjourney or Stable Diffusion will handle most of the creative duties, meaning anyone looking to earn a quick buck can churn out mug designs en masse within a matter of minutes.

And hey, maybe the demographic for this stuff is larger than you think. Many of us do throw good taste out the window when it comes to amassing an impractical amount of coffee receptacles.

It's all a bit goofy, but the encroachment of the technology on widely depended-on marketplaces is no doubt concerning, not least of all because the people deploying these AI models are making their bucks off potentially stolen art.

Those kinds of ethical quandaries haven't stopped entire books written by AI from flooding Amazon, though, or even Amazon listings with blatantly AI-generated names like "I Cannot Fulfill This Request It Goes Against OpenAI Use Policy."

The floodgates, unfortunately, have been blown wide open. Generative AI is powerful tech in the right hands, but rarely seems to be used for anything more than clogging up your favorite website, or maybe even the Google search results that led you there.

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