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Britain Fails The Turing Test

By paddypatel in Culture
Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 11:28:41 PM EST
Tags: bitches, democracy, hate, humour, stupidity (all tags)
Humour

The recently-deployed "Twat-o-Tron", a nifty little script that regurgitates pieces of the incoherent xenophobic rants that usually infest the BBC's Have Your Say website, is increasing in popularity after a report on The Register brought wider exposure of the tool to the Internet community.


An interesting question raised by a Reg commenter asks the question - "If you can write a Perl script that produces a good facsimile of your average Daily Mail / HYS reader's outpourings - does that mean Britain now has several million people who would fail the Turing test?". Since the Twat-o-Tron's output is practically indistinguishable from some of the genuine comments posted on the BBC's site, to the extent that some of TOT's fruitier offerings have been posted and highly recommended on the BBC site, it would seem that the answer is a resounding "Yes".

As well as providing endless entertainment, this tool highlights the negative feedback loop that is emerging on many "Have Your Say" areas of news sites. The Daily Mail (dreadful Murdoch-owned UK tabloid rag) has long been suspected of editing user comments to display only those that toe the editorial line (mostly rants about brown people, Labour and dole-scroungers), which only reinforces the prejudices of those who read these news sources for the sole purpose of achieving a glow of righteous fury over the "state of the UK today".

An interesting counterpoint is the Daily Express (another dreadful UK tabloid also owned by Murdoch that pushes the same nationalistic self-righteousness as the Mail, but with less subtlety) which allows comments that run counter to its popular sentiments to be published, with the effect that the few voices of reason, compassion and moderation are shouted down by a chorus of "New Labour Stooge!" "Muslim Apologist!" "Why do you hate Britain?!!" by the usual window-lickers. The result is that the average spectator is left with the dismal impression that most people are so tribal, ignorant and self-righteous that it is becoming unacceptable to offer reasoned and measured debate in the faceless environment of the Internet

Not that this is news to anyone here (troll away K5-ers!), however I believe that this is a fascinating insight into social dynamics that is only possible now due to the miracle of mass communication.

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Poll
The Twat-o-Tron is:
o The first example of Artificial Stupidity and a warning to us all 15%
o A NeoCon/New Labour/Jewish/Communist/Muslim/Catholic plot to bring down democracy 40%
o Hilarious 35%
o Frightening 10%

Votes: 20
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o "Twat-o-Tr on"
o Have Your Say
o The Register
o fruitier offerings
o Daily Mail
o Daily Express
o Also by paddypatel


Display: Sort:
Britain Fails The Turing Test | 37 comments (24 topical, 13 editorial, 1 hidden)
-1, SHRILL LEFTIST SCREED (none / 0) (#5)
by debillitatus on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 05:22:29 PM EST


Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!

MichealCrawford's diaries are like that $ (3.00 / 4) (#7)
by horny smurf on Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 07:26:23 PM EST



-1 PRO-MUSLIM SPIN IN THIS POST-9/11 WORLD (1.50 / 1) (#12)
by EMOTIVE GUY on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 10:41:16 AM EST


_______________________________________________
They told me to go easy on cock for a few days, but I didn't listen
- MotorMachineMercenary

shit, i've been discovered (none / 0) (#15)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 11:47:53 AM EST

i'm not nothing but a perl script someone wrote in 2002 and forgot to turn off


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Double negative. (none / 1) (#17)
by Booger on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:31:10 PM EST

A real spambot wouldn't make that mistake.  You're human, all too human.

-

What's the difference between Bush and cocaine? --She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie...
[ Parent ]

I doubt that (3.00 / 12) (#18)
by blackbart on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:44:35 PM EST

perl is case sensitive and uses punctuation marks.

"I use this dupe for modbombing and impersonating a highly paid government worker"
- army of phred
[ Parent ]

Maybe he's the frothing alice bot? (none / 0) (#28)
by EMOTIVE GUY on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 01:40:20 AM EST


_______________________________________________
They told me to go easy on cock for a few days, but I didn't listen
- MotorMachineMercenary

[ Parent ]
Integration with existing technologies? (none / 1) (#19)
by anaesthetica on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:46:55 PM EST

How can this technology be used to augment our understanding of stupidity such that fudboy's stupid filter can be made even more formidable?

Regarding the poll, this is, of course, not the first example of automated stupidity. Even more sophisticated subjects than Daily Mail readers were first lampooned by automatic generation of bat-shit meaningless dreck:


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


that's hilarious (none / 0) (#22)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 04:00:22 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
even better: (none / 0) (#23)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 04:00:49 PM EST

http://www.elsewhere.org/hbzpoetry/


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
By the way, Kuro5hin passes the Turing Test (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by yuo on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 12:57:43 PM EST

Well, sort of anyways.

Once, I used a perl script to mine the content of rusty's diaries, and I fed all of it into MegaHAL.

The result was rustybot, but K5 managed to disable his account after only five or so comments.

So, I'd like to officially challenge you kurons to better me. After all, I put in probably 1 hour of effort 6 years ago. Pick a user here at K5 and see what happens when you use his data as source material for a bot.

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.

i can better you (none / 1) (#21)
by circletimessquare on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 03:58:23 PM EST

i just wouldn't name the thing __bot

should be a little harder to figure out at that point

(rolls eyes)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I nominate Social Democrat ~nt (none / 0) (#24)
by anaesthetica on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 04:18:56 PM EST


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Fail (none / 0) (#34)
by Joe Sixpack on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 06:32:56 AM EST

Michael David Crawford.

---
[ MONKEY STEALS THE PEACH ]
[ Parent ]

I imagine spidy might be something like that. (none / 0) (#27)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:44:48 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Ownership of Express and Mail looks incorrect (none / 1) (#25)
by Scrymarch on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:32:25 PM EST

Murdoch owns The Sun, The News of the World, and The Times. The Daily Mail looks to be owned by a trust and the Express by Richard Desmond.

It's not really Murdoch's style; while he can certainly be right wing, populist and interfering his favourite tactic is to take the top and the bottom of the market, and squeeze the middle. He also has a sense of humour which The Daily Fear does not, and he will happily switch support between parties. It's like The Simpsons, which he also owns - high and low brow combine for his profit.

btw (none / 0) (#26)
by Scrymarch on Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 07:34:13 PM EST

http://www.newscorp.com/operations/newspapers.html

[ Parent ]
Incorrect use of ''failing the Turing Test'' (none / 0) (#30)
by rpresser on Sat Jun 14, 2008 at 08:20:18 PM EST

A participant fails the Turing Test when the judge can be certain she is talking to a machine. If it is unclear whether the participant is human or mechanical, then the participant wins the Turing Test.

The judge is not said to fail or succeed at the Turing Test based on the participant's outcome.

Your story (quoting the Reg commenter) presents the "several million people" as judges and the script as participants.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty

No, it is the british people who fail (none / 0) (#31)
by Wen Jian on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 11:40:04 AM EST

As their combined outpourings are indistingishable from the control samples provided by a known machine.
It was an experiment in lulz. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
They've failed something, but not the Turing Test. (none / 0) (#32)
by rpresser on Sun Jun 15, 2008 at 08:26:16 PM EST

Terminology is important in exact sciences such as mathematics. You think Andrew Wiles would take it kindly if you congratulated him on proving Fermat's Last Thingy?
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
Picking up the soap is important in exact fails (none / 0) (#33)
by Wen Jian on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 03:57:54 AM EST

Such as the Internet.
It was an experiment in lulz. - Rusty
[ Parent ]
Just found on the Beeb newsnight website... (none / 0) (#35)
by Wen Jian on Mon Jun 16, 2008 at 07:57:20 AM EST

"14. At 5:57 pm on 15 Jun 2008, robson90 wrote:

DD [David Davis] did not resign over 42 days , he resigned over the general erosion of a our civil liverties. There is a difference, this is not a one issue point its part of his greater dissapoinment how the goverment is creating a Computer state"

If David Davis resigned over the initiation of the Skynet project, then more power to him...

The really funny thing is that this and many other interpretations of politicians' actions are so utterly outlandish that if they were true, the only sensible course of action would be to lock the politicians up on grounds of dangerously delusional insanity. However millions of people appear to hold these opinions and yet continue to function socially - a state which leaves me utterly mystified.
It was an experiment in lulz. - Rusty

Britain Fails The Turing Test | 37 comments (24 topical, 13 editorial, 1 hidden)
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