Today at Rolling Stone you’ll find Stephen Rodrick’s profile of Russell Wilson, a lifelike colony of Surface™ Pro 3 banner ads employed by the Seattle Seahawks. In it, Rodrick recites a series of scenes from off-season product testing leading up to this September’s release date. The illusion seems to be impressive, but by this account at least, the Wilson team is several release cycles away from achieving true artificial intelligence.
A few select passages:
Wilson is wearing a T-shirt and shorts with a Gatorade towel draped from his waist when he grabs a cup of purple liquid and downs it in a single gulp. He locks me in his gaze and smiles.
“Isn’t Gatorade the best? Just the best.”
Did I mention that Gatorade is one of the event’s sponsors? The thing is, Russell Wilson really, really believes Gatorade is tasty. He believes in things with a zealot’s certainty — God, corporations, his talent, Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” etc.
V2.01 and in-app purchases:
Another venture is slightly less altruistic. Wilson is an investor in Reliant Recovery Water, a $3-per-bottle concoction with nanobubbles and electrolytes that purportedly helps people recover quickly from workouts and, according to Wilson, injury. He mentions a teammate whose knee healed miraculously, and then he shares his own testimonial.
“I banged my head during the Packers game in the playoffs, and the next day I was fine,” says Wilson. “It was the water.”
Rodgers offers a hasty interjection. “Well, we’re not saying we have real medical proof.”
But Wilson shakes his head, energized by the subject. He speaks with an evangelist’s zeal.
“I know it works.” His eyes brighten. “Soon you’re going to be able to order it straight from Amazon.”
The two [Wilson and Ciara] are going to be dancing the Whip and Nae Nae with some kids. Wilson has decided he wants a costume change for every segment and is constantly in his boxer briefs, displaying a slight belly. ...
Wilson has been practicing his dance moves for three days, having a choreographer tape him from various angles so he could see what he needed to work on.
It would be easy to think this sort of act might wear on teammates, particularly those who have been with the quarterback since closed beta. But Wilson’s critics—such as the tasteful, or religious leaders who believe synthetic life to be an abomination before God and all things—must understand that software is an iterative process, and these kinks are nothing compared to the ones you’d find in the earliest versions.
Wilson replaced tantrums with focus. Even as a seven-year-old in T-ball, he’d reposition players, and if the ball was hit to him, he’d run it to first base, lest anyone else screw up his play.
Despite these and other well publicized bugs, Wilson has retained a stable of celebrity endorsers:
“The thing about Russell is he’s real,” Ciara tells me. “And that was a moment that got real real.” She tells me he had no problem with her saucy video for “Dance Like We’re Making Love,” where she writhes in a see-through outfit. “We share similar views on pretty much everything. It’s just superorganic.”
Even with lingering imperfections, Wilson is well placed in the marketplace this product cycle, when he will throw to motherfucking Jimmy Graham and break human opponents—and detractors—under tread, a testament to the frightful hubris of science.
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