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Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Rise of Social Bots

In the July issue of the Communications of the ACM.  The cover article is "The Rise of Social Bots"

Good background, future, value and cautions.  Not very technical.  I like adding the adding of 'social' to the description, ultimately they must be able to work with us.  Very memorable points as it matched with our own experience in this area.

The Rise of Social Bots
By Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Clayton Davis, Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini  .... 

Bots (short for software robots) have been around since the early days of computers. One compelling example of bots is chatbots, algorithms designed to hold a conversation with a human, as envisioned by Alan Turing in the 1950s.33 The dream of designing a computer algorithm that passes the Turing test has driven artificial intelligence research for decades, as witnessed by initiatives like the Loebner Prize, awarding progress in natural language processing.a Many things have changed since the early days of AI, when bots like Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA,39 mimicking a Rogerian psychotherapist, were developed as demonstrations or for delight. 

Today, social media ecosystems populated by hundreds of millions of individuals present real incentives—including economic and political ones—to design algorithms that exhibit human-like behavior. Such ecosystems also raise the bar of the challenge, as they introduce new dimensions to emulate in addition to content, including the social network, temporal activity, diffusion patterns, and sentiment expression. A social bot is a computer algorithm that automatically produces content and interacts with humans on social media, trying to emulate and possibly alter their behavior. Social bots have inhabited social media platforms for the past few years.  .... " 

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