Closing Thought–21Feb17

To Bot Or Not To Bot?  That is the question.

If you spend too much time on the ‘net then I am positive that you have run into a bot or something similar… Spam folder is usually full of bot replies to my posts….I am sure that everyone that has a blog will have them lurking about….I have even heard that there are bots that reply and almost sound human….but if I think it is a Bot I will reply in some way that will expose it…..

Yes, Bots are a pain in the ass…..I have seen all the “fake news” stuff and all the angst about the MSM….some of it I agree with and others I find just a reach at best….but I read something that I found disturbing….especially when it applies to journalism…..

When Republican Steve King beat back Democratic challenger Kim Weaver in the race for Iowa’s 4th congressional district seat in November, The Washington Post snapped into action, covering both the win and the wider electoral trend. “Republicans retained control of the House and lost only a handful of seats from their commanding majority,” the article read, “a stunning reversal of fortune after many GOP leaders feared double-digit losses.” The dispatch came with the clarity and verve for which Post reporters are known, with one key difference: It was generated by Heliograf, a bot that made its debut on the Post’s website last year and marked the most sophisticated use of artificial intelligence in journalism to date.

When Jeff Bezos bought the Post back in 2013, AI-powered journalism was in its infancy. A handful of companies with automated content-generating systems, like Narrative Science and Automated Insights, were capable of producing the bare-bones, data-heavy news items familiar to sports fans and stock analysts. But strategists at the Post saw the potential for an AI system that could generate explanatory, insightful articles. What’s more, they wanted a system that could foster “a seamless interaction” between human and machine, says Jeremy Gilbert, who joined the Post as director of strategic initiatives in 2014. “What we were interested in doing is looking at whether we can evolve stories over time,” he says.

Source: What News-Writing Bots Mean for the Future of Journalism | WIRED

What will all those op-ed writers do?

Since I am by NO stretch of the imagination a techno geek….I would hope that some of my readers that are more knowledgeable than I chime in here with some techno stuff…..

Any thoughts you would like to share?

Go now…the day is young…see you guys tomorrow….chuq


20 thoughts on “Closing Thought–21Feb17

  1. Surrendering to AI means sacrificing the things that make us human. The written word is one of the most profound outlets for creativity, has been for thousands of years, yet now we have AI generating entire articles. If we stop using our abilities, they atrophy and wither, compounding the degredation of intelligence that is already well underway. Scary stuff. Just because we “can” doesn’t mean we “should.”

  2. Some how I find the whole idea creepy and I’m going to reread the whole post later to see why I reacted this way. Obviously don’t expect any techno wizardly explanation of me but I’d like to know how the bots are instructed about what to look for on the net. General subjects, particular ideas, just words?????
    I’m too old for this shit. Have a nice evening chuq. ~~dru~~

      1. giggle.giggle.giggle, picture a Minion giggling. You called me dry and I type myself that often by mistake. Then I get weird and wonder if I’m projecting my “should bes”. ~~dru~~

  3. I hate to scare y’all, but, as a decently geeky guy, I’m fairly up on how far along AI has progressed: we may already have witnessed self-awareness, though, as Alan Turing, the man who originated the testing theory for AI, & is considered the father of the science, said, “When it happens, I don’t suppose we’ll know how it does it…”

    Besides the AI journalists, you’re carrying an AI precursor around with you in your phone, most likely. If one uses Siri, or any of the other interactive phone ‘bot personas, it learns & gets faster the longer it is used. Also, there are now spam phone ‘bots… I’ve received a number of calls; if one says ‘hello’, a short pause is followed by a perky young female voice, which says, “Oh!”, then chuckles, continuing to say, “Sorry, there’s something wrong with my headset. This is Emily,….” The voice then launches into a reasonable sounding story, leading up to offering a resort stay somewhere… But if you try to interrupt the spiel, to ask a question, they hang up…. It is real enough sounding to fool many people, long enough to get them to punch a choice number, which will probably send them to a real sales rep….

    Google has two AI computer systems it assigned to create a game platform; the two machines, to accomplish the task, made up their own internal language, which allowed them to communicate faster, without the operators knowledge before doing so…

    Another two AI ‘bots were told to play a game, whereupon they began showing signs of ambition, and greed, by performing attacks on the other ‘bot to gain the prize….

    Andrew also nailed the dangerous point of all this, which is the risk we refuse to acknowledge when deciding to do something, anything, just because we can, without fully understanding whether or not we should….

    gigoid, the dubious

  4. I read somewhere about ‘automated novels’ that churn out genre-specific stuff with invented names of authors and fake bios too. The whole thing makes my head spin, to be honest. And it also makes me happy to be quite old. I am going to miss the worst aspects of all this, thankfully.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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