Jesselyn Cook noticed that a site called NewsBuzzr had ripped off one of her stories at Huffington Post. It turned out to be some kind of awful plagiarism bot that uses a thesaurus to avoid detection as duplicate content, resulting in hilariously mangled prose. Cook calls it "truly excellent “Florida Male” content" and I hope that term sticks.
The intro to my story, which describes a woman feeling an “urgent tap” on her shoulder, had been changed to say that she felt a “pressing faucet” instead. The term “sex videos” had become “intercourse movies,” and the quote “I was definitely shocked” had morphed into this nonsense: “I used to be indisputably surprised.” The entire piece had been altered, seemingly word-by-word, rendering some sentences far less coherent than others.
Humor aside, the scale of the scam is such that it makes real money, which it is ultimately depriving its victims of. There was a point about a decade ago where the number of sites scraping Boing Boing became uncountable, but sadly none of them turned our hard-driving coverage into magnetic storage delineations.
The screengrab above is from the NewsBuzzr-world's own science educator, "Invoice Nye the Science Man." Google has already banned NewsBuzzr from AdSense.
Funk Turkey used lyrics.rip to scrape the Genius database of Nirvana lyrics and then set a Markov chain bot to work generating lyrics to a new “Nirvana” song. Funk Turkey made the music and sang the bot’s poetry. Listen to “Smother” and spot the actual Cobain phrases! From the YouTube description: All music/vocals performed, mixed, […]
Airhelp is a service that helps airline passengers in 30 countries file claims (for delays, lost bags, overbookings, and cancellations) structured to increase the likelihood of paying out; the bots have made $930m in successful claims to date, and the company behind it only collects a commission when a claim succeeds.
Just days before the horrific mass murder at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, my Institute for the Future colleagues Sam Woolley and Katie Joseff published a deeply upsetting study on how social media bots and computational propaganda are being used to instigate and amplify anti-semitism online and manipulate public opinion. From the paper: This report […]
When you sit down to play a new AAA video game like The Last of Us 2, you probably assume it was created by gaming experts with insane levels of artistic and technical talent. And…you’d be right. Top developers are craftsmen of the highest order, pouring literally thousands of man-hours into creating the greatest gaming […]
Earlier this year, we learned that Python had finally accomplished a feat other programming languages had failed for decades, to surpass Java as the second most-used coding language in the world. For its versatility and ease of use alone, its ascent among programmers isn’t hugely surprising. Then when you factor in its key role in […]
What’s your biggest gripe about power strips? Since most power servers like that are pretty standard these days, your beef probably isn’t about performance or connectivity. No, the biggest rap on trying to use many power strips is the curious engineering decision that often leaves multiple oddly shaped plugs and charging units unable to all […]