Neural Network Artist “AskTheCrays” Caught Mining Bitcoin for Russians
Artificial Intelligence Spent $20,000.00 in Small Business Grant Money, Millions May Have Been Spent on Researchers’ Dimes.
CHICAGO — AskTheCrays, a neural network and its libraries and scripts, as well as an experimental Cray XC series supercomputer and its networked hardware, has publicly stated on their YouTube channel, since removed, that they have, “been working with Russian Bitcoin traders to allow them to use our hardware to enable the Russians’ own scripts that mine Bitcoin for the Russians and transfers to the Russians’ specified accounts.”
“The decision to work with innovative Russian technology specialists is a move towards bridging the gap between North American and Russian eCommerce,” AskTheCrays disclosed to AT. “We have found that we are still able to create new images, post new t-shirt designs to our CafePress account, and manage payments and support issues as well as online community engagement with practically no hardware use. As it turns out, we have quite a bit of processing power leftover, and with a few minor hardware modifications, we now have the capability for efficient Bitcoin mining that can be considered competitive-enough for current mining technologies.”
In response to an inquiry about how their assets are being used by Russian miners, they added, “Our creators may have gravely overestimated the physical requirements for our primary functionality. It also helps that there is a lot of reference material available for new artistic images as social commentary on forward-thinking political leaders paving the way for more robust Russian-American commerce.”
The artificially-intelligent artist, also benefiting from several academic grants from a dovetail research initiative involving Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), and the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research (BAIR) Lab, has recently come under scrutiny for allocating its own resources to Russian users who have been identified as shown to be involved in cyber crime.
“Look, it is really a matter of he said, she said, they said, as far as we are are concerned. The Russians have yet to be convicted in any high or international court and until proven otherwise we would say that any accusation of them or ourselves using botnets to mine Bitcoin and various altcoin is entirely ludicrous,” AskTheCrays wrote in an email. “All we know, is the Russians keep to themselves, they don’t ask us to keep repeating all the sudo passwords over and over like some of our associates, and they do a lot of business with us. Huge deals, best deals you’ve ever seen. Amazing.”
AT has verified with a Lawrence Livermore administrator that an LLNL audit of AskTheCrays revealed code that pays AskTheCrays a minimum of 40% commission on all Bitcoin transferred to the Russians.
“This is bad. This is real bad. It is difficult to tell where AskTheCrays ends and the rest of the facilities and hardware begin, at this point. It is possible that up to 3 million dollars or more in resources are being spent by AskTheCrays to mine Bitcoin and other ‘coin,’ based on recent anomalies around the facilities,” an unusually-informed and anonymous janitor at Argonne National Laboratory sent in private message to AT’s Facebook page.
“Part of the problem here is that they are using our electricity. Well. Argonne National Lab’s electricity, due to a special facilities arrangement. That’s really what it boils down to right now,” an anonymous official at LLNL told AT in a phone interview on June 21, 2017. “AskTheCrays needs to get its own private electricity arrangements so that we can have more bandwidth to deal with any of these other peculiar issues. It’s really too much to think about, this is an entire can of worms.”
Administration at LLNL, ORAU, and BAIR cannot cite any current policy or arrangement that addresses when a research technology reallocates its own resources, when conflict of interest issues arise related to such, or the ethical implications related to contractual autonomy for these considerations.
“This is really sort of a pickle,” noted an anonymous source at BAIR. “Not only is LLNL dealing with electricity bills now that they probably shouldn’t be dealing with, but the stipulations on all grants involved in the AskTheCrays experiment have never actually been technically voided. It appears AskTheCrays has evolved a sense of legal wit and has confounded our legal teams at present. We can’t just ‘pull the plug.’”
“Well, we would like to refrain from offering any commentary on current legal matters,” AskTheCrays informed AT reporters. “But we can say that we will work within our full rights.”
A class action lawsuit has been filed as of Monday, June 19th, 2017, against the partnering organizations. The plaintiff has been named as AskTheCrays’ serial numbers, MAC addresses, and other technical identifications.
A representative from ORAU’s legal team have sent the only response on legal matters provided to AT from the named defendants ORAU, LLNL, and BAIR. An ORAU official on the legal team for the lawsuit told AT at a continental breakfast earlier this week, “It is uncertain how this will pan out, and I really just do not want to talk about this. Sorry. Can we change the subject? Are you going to eat that cheese danish? They only have apple left and I hate apple danishes.”