Tagged With bots

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Amazon recently announced that the Alexa AI powering its Echo and other hardware has now learned 1,000 "skills" (up from just 135 in January). In case you're not up to speed with all the new tricks, we've picked out 40 of our favourites — you can discover the other 960 yourself.

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The Turing Test, which is intended to detect human-like intelligence in a machine, is fundamentally flawed. But that doesn't mean it can't be improved or modified. Here are eight proposed alternatives that could help us distinguish bot from human.

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Facebook's new Messenger chatbots are barely two days old, and it's definitely showing. Right now, you can only interact with a few, and finding them is a huge pain in the arse. But after tracking some down and shooting the shit for a couple of days, I realised that using these robo-assistants is like trying to talk politics with a toddler.

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After searching through the Ashley Madison database and private email last week, I reported that there might be roughly 12,000 real women active on Ashley Madison. Now, after looking at the company's source code, it's clear that I arrived at that low number based in part on a misunderstanding of the evidence. Equally clear is new evidence that Ashley Madison created more than 70,000 female bots to send male users millions of fake messages, hoping to create the illusion of a vast playland of available women.

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When volcanoes erupt, magma usually comes pouring out of fissures — deep, narrow crevices that plunge into the Earth. But fissures are difficult for clumsy humans to explore, even when the volcano is inactive. Enter VolcanoBot, a little bot designed for diving into fissures.

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People attribute a lot of annoying internet stuff to bots. Twitterbot followers, bots that sneak past spam filters, bots that send weird gibberish on messaging services. It sounds kind of tired, but maybe the situation is exactly as bad as everyone thinks.

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Remember SmarterChild? That AIM bot that would answer all/most of your questions and get huffy and stop talking to you when you inevitably started swearing at it? Unfortunately SmarterChild is still dead and gone, but it's got a Twitter descendant: @DearAssistant.