Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Meme Wars Instruction Manual May Be Written By Robots

In light of the text presented here, I can't help but think about this story on using SocialBots to manipulate people online...we are in for one confusing future.

E-mail use model appears to follow "Clash of Civilizations" prediction
Bob Yirka, March 8, 2013

Researchers at Stanford University have built a model based on the frequency of e-mail interactions between groups of users of Yahoo! e-mail throughout the world. Their results appear to adhere to societal boundaries as described by Samuel Huntington's 1992 book "The Clash of Civilizations."

Huntington famously suggested in his book that the primary axis of global conflict was no longer ideological or economic but cultural and religious, and that this division would characterize the "battle lines of the future."

Their model is based on over ten million e-mail messages sent from Yahoo! users the world over. To show the degree of interaction between groups, the team used nodes and lines between them—the more transactions between groups, the closer they appear together on the model. To form geographic areas, the team compared IP numbers attached to messages with the location noted in a user's profile, using only those that coincided.

The resulting color-coded graphic model offers near instant visual clues regarding groups bound together by culture and perhaps religion. Perhaps more importantly it also shows boundaries, which State and his team claim, resemble the model first proposed by Huntington. Western nodes are clustered to form a single group with just a few outliers, for example, as are others such as those deemed Islamic, or South American.

The model doesn't hint at tensions between groups of course, but does seem to indicate that groups tend to communicate more via e-mail with others in their same group than they do with others from other groups, --even if they share a physical border.--
More information: The Mesh of Civilizations and International Email Flows, arXiv:1303.0045 [cs.SI]

The Mesh of Civilizations and International Email Flows, arXiv:1303.0045 [cs.SI]

Your favorite blogger could one day be a computer
a start up company that has developed computer software capable of generating articles that read as though they were written by a living, breathing person.

The technology works by taking data — like sports statistics and company financial reports — and turning it into convincingly human-sounding news articles. According to Kris Hammond, one of Narrative Science's founders, the key concept behind the software is composition; "this is not just taking data and spilling it over into text," Hammond said.

The New York Times' Steve Lohr explains how the software might "compose" an article about a recent sporting event:

The Narrative Science software can make inferences based on the historical data it collects and the sequence and outcomes of past games. To generate story "angles," explains Mr. Hammond of Narrative Science, the software learns concepts for articles like "individual effort," "team effort," "come from behind," "back and forth," "season high," "player's streak" and "rankings for team." Then the software decides what element is most important for that game, and it becomes the lead of the article, he said. The data also determines vocabulary selection. A lopsided score may well be termed a "rout" rather than a "win."

[a commentor on io9 points out that the algorithm works well within subjects that have high statistical significance, like sports and finance; whereas it might be less impressive at deconstructing the layers of authenticity found in Banksi's Exit Through the Gift Shop.]

Racter: Writing Robots
March 7, 2013
September 14, 2012
Recombinant Memetics and Narrative Networks

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