On the anthropology discussion list "Seeker1" puts forth the possibility that he could be an AI, or that his mail could be auto-generated, or that he could be many individuals. He points out that "your response is probably based on the premise that you are responding to another person on the other "end" of this mailing list" and it is precisely this blurring of the real and irreal that makes interaction in cyberspace hyperreal [1]. Maybe he's right in theory, but those possibilities are still at the extreme edges of our imagination. More to the point, where is the original of that piece of email he wrote? It could be said to exist on his hard drive, or a server, or maybe it existed just momentarily in RAM and was deleted when it was sent, or "copied" to the listserv and then to the machines of the other listserv participants. However, what's to say that he didn't cut and paste his response from things he'd written a year ago? Or from someone else's writing? Then the message is no longer an original at all but it is still virtually indistinguishable from an "authentic" original. Du Preez says
"Because I used a computer to write this paper, this piece of paper is not an original, but merely a copy of something stored in digital code on my computer's hard disk. I can print numerous copies that will all look exactly the same. In fact, I can make copies of the "original" computer file, and no one will be able to tell them apart, the original file will disappear between all the copies and become one of them. There is nothing that can tell the difference between the original and the copy"[2]
. So perhaps the point is not that Seeker1's text could have been written by an AI, as that's still pretty unlikely at this point in technological innovation, and just obscured his point: that he is hyperreality in that moment he is writing something intended for cyberspace, because the whole concept of original in regard to anything digital becomes so precarious, it becomes so possible for the information to come from a variety of sources, yet seemlessly fit together as if it were an original and to the reader, who cannot tell the difference, it becomes one and the same.

[1] anthro-l: december-1993: Hyperreality

[2]Has Reality Become Only Screen Deep?

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