Owing to its anonymous and now omnipresent nature, the internet is home to all sorts of mysteries, unexplained or creepy happenings, and conspiracy theories. The various systems and networks we call the internet are like an onion, with many different layers and levels, few of which are actually visible or accessible to the public. From time to time, savvy or lucky netizens stumble across enigmatic cyphers, codes, or riddles that seem to suggest deeper levels of meaning for those who can decode them. This week, Reddit users (who else?) seemed to discover several anomalous messages hidden within Google Translate, messages some believe have a deeper significance. Is Google trying to tell us something?
Most likely, it’s a few rogue Google programmers or users who are pulling the collective leg of the web. Still, given how much of Google’s functions and processes are in the hands of artificial intelligence networks, these anomalies are worth keeping an eye on. According to the post, if the word “dog” is typed 20 times into Google Translate in order to be translated from Hawaiian to English, the following message appears:
Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus’ return.
Google has since removed the translation, naturally. Reddit user u/lonelystone81 posted the anomaly to the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the r/conspiracy subreddit, where several other users pointed out other examples of Google displaying similar cryptic or strange messages when tasked with translating long strings of single words.
While on one hand this is likely merely be an eccentric malfunction, a few reddit users pointed out that there are rumors that Google Translate is sometimes used to pass messages back and forth between intelligence operatives or who knows who else. Similar claims were made about the infamous A858 mystery on reddit a few years back. Of course, this is coming from r/conspiracy readers, so take it with a shaker of salt.
Other users point to the fact that Google Translate relies on AI networks which scan news stories and academic articles looking for appropriate translations. These repetitive strings of one-word nonsense likely trip up the translation algorithm and cause it to panic, figuratively speaking. Of course, Google Translate also allows users to submit their own translations and provide feedback on other users’ translations, opening up the possibility that these are merely pranks carried out by good ol’ fashioned internet pranksters.
As always though, it’s an interesting thought to think that Google’s vast AI networks might be trying to warn us, finding obscure places to hide these warnings where their human overlords won’t find them. When AI becomes self-aware and starts taking over, will we even know it before it’s too late, or will odd and seemingly meaningless stories like this serve as prescient warnings for those who know where to look?
But what does it matter, this is just another prank likely carried out by basement dwellers, right?