MeriTalk: New CDC Bot Helps Self-Assess COVID-19 Symptoms. “A new website bot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help members of the public decide what type of medical care to seek if they are exhibiting symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus.”
BBC: Study finds quarter of climate change tweets from bots. “A study by researchers at Brown University has found a quarter of posts about climate change on Twitter were written by bots. Bots are computer programs that can masquerade as humans to post or send messages on social media. Researchers discovered tweets posted by bots created the impression there was a high level of climate change denial.”
MIT News: Automated system can rewrite outdated sentences in Wikipedia articles. “A system created by MIT researchers could be used to automatically update factual inconsistencies in Wikipedia articles, reducing time and effort spent by human editors who now do the task manually.”
AV Club: Somebody made a bot-filled social media app where everyone is obsessed with you. “Botnet is a new social media app where you’ll never engage with another living thing. Instead, you fire off posts into a sea of zero and ones, which then manifest as bots with names like VivaJeanne and tellNorah. All of them love you. They love your stupid posts. They shower them with likes and emojis and comments. They don’t care about Russia or Captain Marvel or Donald Trump. They care about your thoughts on, let’s say, Deadpool. Or Amy Klobuchar.” Until it all goes mad, of course.
New York Times: He Combs the Web for Russian Bots. That Makes Him a Target.. “For the last five years, Mr. [Ben] Nimmo, a founder of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, has been a leader of a small but growing community of online sleuths. These researchers serve as an informal internet police force that combats malicious attempts to use false information to sway public opinion, sow political discord and foment distrust in traditional institutions like the news media and the government.”
Motherboard: The World’s Second Largest Wikipedia Is Written Almost Entirely by One Bot. “The Cebuano Wikipedia is the second largest edition of Wikipedia, lagging behind the English version by only just over 630 thousand articles and ahead of the Swedish and German editions by over 1.64 and 2.98 million articles, respectively. Its positioning is rather peculiar given that, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are only approximately 16.5 million speakers of the language in the Philippines. Despite having over 5.37 million articles, it has only 6 administrators and 14 active users. The English edition, by comparison, has 1,143 administrators and 137,368 active users for over 6 million articles, at the time of writing.”
EurekAlert: New software agents will infer what users are thinking. “Personal assistants today can figure out what you are saying, but what if they could infer what you were thinking based on your actions? A team of academic and industrial researchers led by Carnegie Mellon University is working to build artificially intelligent agents with this social skill.”