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Comment Re:Why is a study necessary? (Score 2) 97

This article summary is sensationalized misinterpretation of the actual paper. Yes, bots have maintainers, and yes, maintainers are alerted when bots get reverted. The actual study is mostly about changes that get promulgated across different language Wikipedias. Because that's a loose-coupling, those are a little more difficult to detect. That's all.

Comment Re:In fact theses are puppeteers who are fighting (Score 1) 97

Honestly, no one is fighting. This article is sensationalized. The bots in question are doing dinky maintenance stuff. Some of them are written in such a way that as an unintended side-effect, comes into conflict with the way another one is written. And in particular, this addresses when that happens across different Wikipedias (different language versions), where the relationship is loosely coupled. Wikipedia doesn't allow you to write a bot for the sake of enforcing your personal agenda. Those get shut down.

Comment Re:Further Proof Wikipedia is Unreliable (Score 1) 97

No informed person is making the argument that WP is reliable. It's a starting point, that's all.

But by the way, the initial article is about bot-conflicts by bots doing things like fixing redirect-links and broken references; meta-stuff. These conflicts have nothing to do with the factual content of the articles.

Comment Re:A better summary (Score 4, Insightful) 97

This is vastly better. Slashdot's summary is one of the most sensationalized non-issues I've seen on /. in a few months now. It didn't take very long at all for bot conflicts to become obvious to bot-authors, at which point and they quickly put in code to notice edit conflicts. When the bots spot back & forth editing, they back off, and alert the bot's maintainer. It took a little longer to notice loops that spanned across the different language editions of articles, but that's because the relationship among them is usually pretty weak. This Summary acts like a bot-conflict spanning 3629 articles is something impressive. In that time period, that represents around 0.01% of the article namespace when you span all language variants of WP, and the bots in question do seriously boring things related to cleaning up redirect-links or fixing named references if they become broken as an unintended side effect of a user's edit.

As far as this better summary, and looking at a longer summary from the Alan Turing Institute website, it looks like it's also inflating the implications of the study. It's certainly true that simple rules can result in complex unintended conflicts, but that's already a well-known idea. Specific novel lessons learned from this study have pretty weak implications to AI. And the cultural conclusions it draws are borderline silly. "the same technology leads to different outcomes depending on the cultural environment. An automated vehicle will drive differently on a German autobahn to how it will through the Tuscan hills of Italy." I'm gonna guess that this guy isn't a software developer. Upon checking, yup, he's a physicist turned social-scientist.

Comment Re:An allegation has been made. (Score 1) 906

I'm expecting that whoever does this investigation is going to act in the shareholders' best interest, which among other things means not exposing the company to massive liabilities in court. If the investigation supports the allegations, then those responsible are going to get canned.

-jcr

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