Picture this, it’s September 17th, 2020. You are waking up early morning to buy a brand new RTX 3080 only to find out that it’s out of stock. You check around to see that every place is out of stock from Best Buy to Newegg to even NVIDIA’s own store. Then you begin to dig deeper and do some research and find out that there was no high demand and the real culprit has to do with bots… Bots that are ordering the RTX 3 series in order to inflate the price on places like eBay.
2020 has been such a twisted time, who knew that with the coronavirus going on that technology would develop so much that bots would be able to fool complicated systems designed to ensure that only a human could buy one. Of course NVIDIA left a forum post stating that everything was a-okay, so did Newegg in the form of a tweet. But of course, you wouldn’t know everything was a-okay by reading tens of reviews complaining about lame website design and poor treatment of customers of Best Buy (as of writing).
Everybody knows the deal about bots, they used to be the ones leaving spam on your website, talking about monetary beneficial deals that will leave you giddy for excitement but that was 10-15 years ago. Nowadays bots have gotten so advanced to the point where they can solve CAPTCHA’s, avoid spam protection by implementing human like behaviors and so on; it even lead Google to create ReCAPTCHA v3, judging every person by how suspicious they might be rather than have them solve a puzzle.
There are so many bots out there, helpful bots, bots that could lead to a sale but the most harmful is the one that has the most intent but the most damage at the same time. For this particular job, a “checkout bot” was used.
From the link you clicked above, checkout bots are bots that automate a checkout process to the point where it’s like snapping a finger. Combine that with some social engineering and you could buy 40 of the same item at once, similar to what happened with the RTX 3080. Unfortunately there are no laws regulating internet bots so they’re free to do whatever they can on the internet to scalp them up and sell them for… let’s just say 3x the price they originally bought it for.
That explains why it was out of stock in a matter of minutes but why does NVIDIA and NewEgg have to cover their hides? The answer is simpler than anybody could ever perceive. Money and their attempt to make the RTX 3080 look like a success.
Thanks to a capitalist economy, money is needed to make a business survive and more money is needed to ensure its future. Of course a lot of people use money in order to buy expensive luxury and unnecessary items like lamborghinis and rolex watches so what better way to take said money than to take it and lie to the public about it. Money is money, you don’t want to return the money otherwise you’d look bad and trust me, looking bad in 2020 might as well be a death sentence.
I wish there was more but the answer is simple and is unfortunately why the world is tearing itself apart. People care more about money and status than the quality of their own lives.
Of course if you’re looking for an RTX 3080 now and are tempted to pay $2,000 from a scalper who bought it with a bot before you did, I would hold off on that because that money doesn’t go to your favorite business or a person you trust and know. It goes to a scalper who artificially inflated the price to the point where it makes the RTX 3090 look reasonable and while NewEgg, Best Buy and NVIDIA could of done the sensible thing and make sure every purchase was buy a human, they chose not to do it.
I could go on and on about this topic but everything that has to be said has already been said. The bots will continue to get more and more malicious, more and more advanced to the point where no system can stop them. AI will eventually reach the point where it can barely emulate human actions and then what? What will happen to the economy and society when the bots are finally advanced enough to begin manipulating it for monetary gain?
Until then, at least people are creative enough to make fun of the situation so they can hopefully make it better.