Monday, May 30, 2011

Mind vs. machine (on the Turing test)

From the March 2011 Atlantic, via Grist, read Brian Christian's Mind vs. Machine; it does bring to mind certain online communities and commenters...
Among the findings reported: computers are really good at starting & maintaining a fight.
"...the question of what types of human behavior computers can imitate shines light on how we conduct our own, human lives. Verbal abuse is simply less complex than other forms of conversation. In fact, since reading the papers on MGonz, and transcripts of its conversations, I find myself much more able to constructively manage heated conversations. Aware of the stateless, knee-jerk character of the terse remark I want to blurt out, I recognize that that remark has far more to do with a reflex reaction to the very last sentence of the conversation than with either the issue at hand or the person I’m talking to. All of a sudden, the absurdity and ridiculousness of this kind of escalation become quantitatively clear, and, contemptuously unwilling to act like a bot, I steer myself toward a more “stateful” response: better living through science."

It does make you wonder, whether certain online commenters' unwillingness to meet up in person stems from "their" comments&posts being written by a bot.

...and also wonder, whether many actions from the climate denial effort aren't also bot-generated.


gzaller said...

Hi Anna!
Good thought. It might be easier to withstand being drawn into a heated argument if I imagine I am confronted by a bot. Even without that crutch to brace my sanity it is also true that argumentativeness is a very shallow and reactive level of intelligence that engaging with will bring no good.

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks Greg.
Don't miss the article, BTW. Especially the part starting "In May 1989, Mark Humphrys..."
("...This began an argument between Someone and MGonz that lasted almost an hour and a half. (The best part was undoubtedly when Someone said, “you sound like a goddamn robot that repeats everything." ...")