The Null Device


The next breakthrough in machine intelligence is likely to come from the war between spammers and makers of spam filters: in particular, the hardest machine vision and reasoning problems are the scene of an arms race between spam bots and bot-detection systems, often known as "CAPTCHAs". Typically these take the form of the distorted letters/numerals you have to enter when signing up for your new free webmail account, but others are being worked on. Meanwhile, new generations of bots are emerging which are better at coping with the systems in use.

I wonder whether we'll soon see a breakthrough in AI enter the body of scientific literature not by being discovered by a AI researcher but by being dissected out of a captured bot by some sort of cyberzoologist, its principles becoming gradually revealed as its innards are studied, and the real discoverers remaining forever anonymous (if perhaps comfortably well-off) in the spam underworld.

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Rumour of the day: Radiohead may be coming to Australia around April of next year. Start saving, and keep those binoculars handy...

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