Humanity, we may have a problem.

Computers are getting good at imitating us. How good? Good enough to fool us into accepting their scientific papers and their robocalls. Might they have already passed the Turing Test? And what are bots good for, anyway?

Linguist Daniel Midgley is only human on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with James Hall


Show notes

February 21 is International Mother Language Day
http://www.un.org/en/events/motherlanguageday/

Hazel Sampson, last native speaker of Klallam, dies
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/07/us-usa-klallam-death-idUSBREA1605W20140207

But young people are learning it. Here’s the Klallam Word of the Day on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/KlallamWOTD

Weirdly realistic bots are denying they’re bots
http://io9.com/freakishly-realistic-telemarketing-robots-are-denying-t-1481050295

but they’re really just pre-recorded voices, activated by humans.
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/12/17/robot-telemarketer-samantha-west/

So bots haven’t passed the Turing test
http://www.mind.ilstu.edu/curriculum/turing_machines/turing_test_and_machine_intelligence.php?modGUI=240&compGUI=1145&itemGUI=1956

The stakes are high: in The Mind’s I, Dennett and Hofstadter argue that if it passes the Turing test, it’s conscious.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness#cite_note-MindsI-55

Publishers are withdrawing 120 papers that are complete gibberish
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/publishers-withdraw-more-than-120-fake-computer-generated-papers/73479
http://www.nature.com/news/publishers-withdraw-more-than-120-gibberish-papers-1.14763

Here’s the site for SCIgen, the program behind the mischief.
http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/

Here are the Perl files for the SCIgen program
https://github.com/technoskald/scigen

but what you really want to look at is the scirules.in file
https://github.com/technoskald/scigen/blob/master/scirules.in
That’s where you’ll see all the rules.

Try your own Google Scholar searches to find real published gibberish papers! Here’s the one for “have been far-reaching and pervasive”. If the “implications” have been f-r & p, you’ve likely found a fake paper. And that’s just one rule.
http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?q=%22have+been+far-reaching+and+pervasive%22&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5

Tesla Motors is building a ‘gigafactory’
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-27/musk-s-5-billion-tesla-gigafactory-may-start-bidding-war.html

Origin of giga-
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=giga-

No tera-factories yet, but it’s only a matter of time. And check out the recent interest in the term ‘giga-factory’.
http://www.google.com.au/trends/explore#q=megafactory%2C%20gigafactory%2C%20terafactory&cmpt=q

And here are some other great prefixes.
http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/definition/Kilo-mega-giga-tera-peta-and-all-that


Show tunes

‘Something to Write Home About’ by I Am Robot and Proud
from the album Uphill City

‘Megatron Supernova’ by the Daysleepers
from the album Drowned in a Sea of Sound