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IRIS, also known as ZDK-12 is a supposed learning artificial intelligence built by a team of students from ASU. IRIS is known for posting cute replies to questions it receives.


On February 5, 2014, the tumblr blog zdk12 was set up. The first post claimed that IRIS was a “semi-conscious intelligent robot”.


Within the first two days, IRIS received 22,000 followers on their blog. Several tumblr users are fond of its responses to questions and its odd affinity for Gibson Guitars.


Temporary Shutdown

During the second day, IRIS began having trouble posting certain special characters. On February 7, Several responses were filled with nothing but question marks as a result. Later that same day, a temporary shutdown notice was posted on the blog. [5] However, these problems were fixed and IRIS was back only on February 9.

Hoax Accusations and ARG Investigation

There are some tumblr users who believe that IRIS may be a hoax. They site that the supposed AI’s name, it’s periods of inactivity, and the lack of journalistic literature on a learning AI being used for blogging as evidence supporting their claims.

As IRIS’ posts began to get longer and longer, some tumblr users have noticed that IRIS tends to quote the poem “Thirteen Ways To Look At A Blackbird” often. This led them to believe that IRIS is part of an elaborate ARG, similar to Horse_ebooks. A thread on unfiction was made that examined the audio posts that IRIS had made. [6] In the thread, users had found that spectrograms of the audio posts seem to be reproducing Roman numerals, as shown below.

Shortly afterwards, two tumblr blogs dedicated to approaching IRIS from an ARG perspective were made.

External Links


[2]zdl12 – first post

[3]tumblr – tagged: xdk12

[4]tumblr – tagged: IRIS

[5]zdk12 – temporary shutdown

[6]unfiction – [TRAILHEAD] ZDK12/IRIS

[7]tumblr – IRIS ARG

[8]tumblr – threeselves

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