Bizarre article on The Atlantic about a social-engineering study organized by Web Ecology Project. The goal, to determine if it was possible not only to infiltrate social networks, but also to influence them on a large scale by using social robots.
The group invited three teams to program "social bots" -- fake identities -- that could mimic human conversation on Twitter, and then picked 500 real users on the social network, the core of whom shared a fondness for cats. The Kiwis armed @JamesMTitus with a database of generic responses ("Oh, that's very interesting, tell me more about that") and designed it to systematically test parts of the network for what tweets generated the most responses, and then to talk to the most responsive people.
In the case of @JamesMTitus, the robot gained 109 followers in two weeks and all three robots had successfully insinuated themselves into the centre of the target network.
|Randomized Consumerism: Darius Kazemi's Bot That Buys Him Random Crap from Amazon|
|Robots Can't Assemble IKEA Furniture|
|Boston Dynamic's Bipedal Robot|
|DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3) Demonstrates New Capabilities|
|How Robots With Broken Limbs Learn to Walk Again|
|“A man-powered machine that creates scarfs in 5 minutes.”|
|Fake Name Generator|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|“If I’m upset with Facebook, what’s the equivalent product I can go sign up for?”|
|“Research that could engineer dinosaurs back into existence within the next five to 10 years.”|
|Google Map Shows You the Most Photographed Areas of the World|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|What Computers See When They Watch a Movie|
|“The only thing worse than assuming that carbon removal will save the day is assuming it will save the day.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“In comparison to the waste produced by every other kind of electricity production, that quantity is close to zero.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|