Spam Filtering's Last Stand, Part Two
Nov 19, 2002

Two people have now expressed the opinion that I am underestimating the advantage of personalization, and the power of statistics. It's worth replying to, I suppose, since that's two out of three. You can see why I left this out of an already-long weblog post before.

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Spam Filtering's Last Stand
Nov 18, 2002

Note: If you're arriving from one of the many links who think I'm underestimating the power of personalization, please see my rebuttal (now with a working link!). Personalization won't work either, and it's nowhere near as powerful as people seem to think.

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Computers Still Stupid
Nov 17, 2002

The stupidity of computers has become a bit of a minor running theme on this weblog over the past few weeks (and I've got another post on that topic on tap, waiting for Monday), so I couldn't resist posting this news from Slashdot. The conversational bot A.L.I.C.E., winner of the Loebner Prize in 2000 and 2001 for most human-like conversation bot, was hooked up to itself and this is the result. Surprise surprise, very stupid conversation results, especially considered on the semantic level.

It turns out that what A.L.I.C.E. really does, as all conversational bots do, is reflect the intelligence of the human back at the human.

Based on this result, I would suggest modifying the Turing Test to pit two contestents against each other, with a third judge trying to ID whether it's two humans, two machines, or one of each. The machine passes the test when two instances of the program (not necessarily identical, it can be seeded with different background knowlege) convinces the majority of humans that it is two humans communicating. It's too easy to reflect the intelligence of the other player; bots have been doing that since Eliza!

More on Learning
Nov 17, 2002

Addendum to my previous education posts: In general, the best
way to learn anything is to simply jump in, do some wild and
crazy stuff, make mistakes, get quick, accurate feedback about how
well you are doing, and benefit from the previous experience of others
in the environment. This goes for both humans and computers, and is
essentially true in all environments.

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Belabored Birthday Brain Baring
Nov 13, 2002

Warning... the following is going to be a very, very "bloggy" entry. Basically, this post has no thesis, because I'm not sure what I'd want to say.

First, today (Nov. 13) is my 24th birthday. This doesn't directly relate to the rest of this post, but it might put an interesting spin on it.

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