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.
|Brain of Earthworm Recreated in Software and Embedded in a LEGO Robot|
|Robotic Pizza Delivery|
|Robots are a Greater Threat to Employment than Globalisation|
|Robots With Biological Softness|
|“An unfolding 'Cambrian Explosion' in robotics.”|
|“Systemd is, to put it mildly, controversial.”|
|“The Reality of Building Fantasy.”|
|U.S.S. Enterprise Owner's Manual|
|iPhone 6, the First Smartphone to Disrupt NSA's Spying|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“The Amazon Dash button for horny men and women who don’t feel comfortable telling their partner they’d like to have sex.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“If you’re dating, you’re going to be let down. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.”|
|Testing Whether the Earth is Round or Flat|
|“A sophisticated global marketing strategy from an industry that is desperate to attract new smokers.”|
|“Make all videos fun to watch.”|