Tagged With bots

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Bot accounts are the bane of Twitter. The automated accounts that are often characterised by the default egg icon can wreak all sorts of havoc and totally turn the tide on topics that are trending. In a new paper, researchers discovered a bot army of 350,000 accounts that all had one thing in common: a love of Star Wars novels.

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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.