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October 9, 2005

Blogosphere: Where Passing the Turing Test is Easy…

Each day content generation and remixing is getting more advanced. In fact, on some of my other blogs I even noticed automated comments having an ongoing conversation.

When humans think another human created machine generated content, it is said that the machine passed the Turing test, as described in the Wikipedia:

The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine’s capability to perform human-like conversation. Described by Alan Turing in the 1950 paper “Computing machinery and intelligence”, it proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with two other parties, one a human and the other a machine; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test. It is assumed that both the human and the machine try to appear human. In order to keep the test setting simple and universal (to explicitly test the linguistic capability of some machine), the conversation is usually limited to a text-only channel such as a teletype machine as Turing suggested or, more recently, IRC.

Mikkel deMib Svendsen, a well known SEO, recently mentioned on Threadwatch:

The Turing test have been passed many times in real life allready. I’ve personally been involved in a few things that did so (not stuff I programmed though :))

What makes it even easier when it comes to blogging is the fact that a lot of the “real” blogs are of such a poor (writing) quality. All your program has to do is make the output just a little bit better than that.

Why be so obsessed with who and how a piece of text is written? If my computer program can produce better pages than an average human then whats the problem? What is so bad about machine generated content? Some of my favrite sites are machine generated (search engines, news portals etc).

I think this issue is going to hit a bunch of bloggers harder than they realize. As the space gets increasingly polluted with unoriginal thought and remixed content some of the things people are openly advocating today will become marginally profitable within a few years.

Some people argue that when they do a snip and quote and then post it to their blog that they are sending more traffic to the end destination, but if there is no original thought going into the posting process there is probably no value add.

I have had a few friends who do not understand this, but if all you are doing is snip and paste then you time would be better spent learning how to program an automated agent to do that for you. I do not think it is any more honest to do it manually than let a machine do it.

Make no mistake, even award winning bloggers are getting fooled by fake blogs:

Today I noticed someone actually subscribed to one of my spam marketing drivel blogs. After following his profile I noticed he’s subscribed to some other legitimate non-spam blogs in the field as well. Looking deeper at his feeds, I found out he’s a blogger as well. While he’s not an A-List blogger, he did win a best blogger in category award from a legitimate organization this year. His feed also has close to 100 bloglines subscribers. Should I be flattered or worried that a real person has subscribed to my fake blog?

When most fake blogs are able to past the Turing test how will that effect who you are willing to link at? How will that effect how & what you post?

Some of my friends have business models where replying to comments on their real blogs is viewed as a waste of resources. I am betting that philosophy changes on many of those sites within the next 6 months.

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