Who are the Rosa Mortalitas?
The Latin Rose of Death
You've probably been wondering who or what is behind all the messages talking about the "Rosa Mortalitas" you see put all over the web on message boards and comments.
I read a partial explanation on a tech bulletin board by a former software engineer who specialized in neural networks. The original message was deleted when the author left or was kicked off the forum for probably unrelated reasons, but I managed to save part of it. The original author allowed me to repost it with a "yeah sure" e-mail but wouldn't elaborate further and didn't respond to my requests for more information. The message:
Yeah I know something about these guys, or I did. The original "Rosa Mortalitas" were a group of talented if somewhat eccentric individual who were trying to refine viral marketing techniques. They were an in-house operation at a major tech company I do not want to name. They left and formed some kind of start-up.
To those that don't know viral marketing is the holy grail of e-commerce. Do it right and it will make you billions of dollars. Trouble is, no one really knows how or why it works, not even fortune 500 companies, and they've spent billions of dollars trying to figure it out. It is so lucrative because it costs nothing and you can potentially reach every computer on the planet, all the donkey work is done by individuals passing the message through their social circles ad infinitum.
Now, as I understand it, Rosa Mortalitas were very close to cracking the code and, apparently (I only met them directly on a few occassions) what was a very mundane if largely autonomous cell of people working within a corporation started to attract what we called very serious interest. That means government: intelligence, military, trasnational organizations all that shit. That spurred the move to go solo apparently which majorly got everyone pissed.
The head of the group was a guy called Adam Jourdain, a French-Canadian. I think he went completely mad shortly after they left, some kind of split personality bi-polar thing (is bi-polar split personality?, I forget). I only met him once. He was weirdly charismatic, one of those guys always talking about changing the world, but in his case you suspected he might be smart enough to actually do it.
Why all the fuss about a group of geeks? Well, in addition to the money that can be made from viral marketing, there are all kinds of other implications. Say, like you are an anarchist or a nihlist or just a real big jerk, and you want to destroy a country somewhere. Mobilizing criminals and looters is real easy. If you can get a message to go viral through criminal networks, through some non-public source, you can direct all of them to go trash one street while another group trashes the bank on the other side of town or whatever.Law enforcement would never be able to cope with such a massive concerted effort by the entire criminal community working with mathematical, optimal precision in concert.
The viral bit is the hard bit, the organization is easy, there are mathematical formulas you can to maximize chaos across a geographical area. The "beauty" or horror of all this is that the criminals wouldn't even who is sending the message, it would come from their own contacts like PC viruses do and even if they found out it didn't come from that contact they'd be very unlikely to care or pursue it. You just need the alpha male in every criminal gang to receive the initial message and they'll do the rest. No one would ever know who was behind the whole thing.
This is the most obvious application but there are dozens of other terrorist/military applications. It would be quite easy to decimate an economy on a completely costless basis. Do powerful people want that tech, do they ****.
Anyway, last I heard Jourdain had split from the main group and declared himself pope and sole member of the group or something nuts. There was an unusual level of fear involved him I remember by people who knew him.
Interesting story, not sure what to make of it. Does this sound feasible? Don't companies use viral marketing all the time already?
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