From Technology Review, a case of desperation. “Let the robot handle it”. I have to chuckle though, since the article cites John Cook’s “Skeptical Science” as an “appropriate scientific source”. Also amusing is “the rejoinders are culled from a university source whom Leck says he isn’t at liberty to divulge.” Well since he is in New South Wales, I’m thinking this just might be another Tim Lambert aka Deltoid production. Hacker News sums it up pretty well:
> In a way, what Leck has created is a pro-active search engine: it answers twitter users who aren’t even aware of their own ignorance.
On the one hand the idea of a reverse search engine is somewhat appealing, on the other hand; it’s Clippy for the internet.
Nigel Leck, a software developer by day, was tired of arguing with anti-science crackpots on Twitter. So, like any good programmer, he wrote a script to do it for him.
The result is the Twitter chatbot @AI_AGW. Its operation is fairly simple: Every five minutes, it searches twitter for several hundred set phrases that tend to correspond to any of the usual tired arguments about how global warming isn’t happening or humans aren’t responsible for it.
It then spits back at the twitterer who made that argument a canned response culled from a database of hundreds. The responses are matched to the argument in question — tweets about how Neptune is warming just like the earth, for example, are met with the appropriate links to scientific sources explaining why that hardly constitutes evidence that the source of global warming on earth is a warming sun.
The database began as a simple collection of responses written by Leck himself, but these days quite a few of the rejoinders are culled from a university source whom Leck says he isn’t at liberty to divulge.
Like other chatbots, lots of people on the receiving end of its tweets have no idea they’re not conversing with a real human being. Some of them have arguments with the chatbot spanning dozens of tweets and many days, says Leck. That’s in part because AI_AGW is smart enough to run through a list of different canned responses when an interlocutor continues to throw the same arguments at it. Leck has even programmed it to debate such esoteric topics as religion – which is where the debates humans have with the bot often wind up.
The whole story is at Technology Review
Here’s Leck’s Twitter feed:
His bio on Twitter says:
“given sufficient evidence I’ll accept a claim as provisionally true.It’s a balance of probabilities,atheist,greenie & a bit of a nerd but mostly harmless:-)”
Seems like a nice enough fellow, just a bit misguided perhaps.
h/t to WUWT reader Don Penim
UPDATE: Borepatch writes in with some news that is well worth sharing.
I created the Clippy almost a year ago:
There’s also a ClimateGate Blue Screen Of Death there, too.
I post fairly regularly on AGW issues, and am afraid that I’m one of those “deniers”. My probably two best posts on the subject are here:
http://borepatch.blogspot.com/2009/12/should-you-be-global-warming-skeptic.html (for a non-technical audience)
If you could point attribution my way, this would be some pretty big bragging rights for me here in my little corner of the ‘net.
Happy to do so! Sometimes humor spreads like wildfire without proper attribution because people are so focused on the funny, they forget the source. Your Clippy parody has been a source of humor for thousands, and we thank you. – Anthony